Election Roundup

 

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story, "The West: A New Center of Power."

ARIZONA

After taking office in 2003, Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed more than 110 bills passed by the Republican Legislature. Voters seem to like her stands. She won re-election by roughly 2-to-1 over archconservative Republican Len Munsil. Both ran campaigns with public financing — about $1 million each from Arizona’s unusual Clean Elections Program.

Democrat Gabrielle Giffords, an ex-Republican, won a House seat in southeast Arizona that includes parts of metro Tucson; her opponent, Randy Graf, who belongs to the Minuteman group, ran as an immigration hard-liner.

Democrat Harry Mitchell, an ex-high-schoolteacher and longtime local politician, took the suburban-Phoenix House seat held by J.D. Hayworth, another archconservative Republican.

Voters rejected competing state-lands ballot measures, one backed by environmentalists, the other by ranchers, but passed a measure requiring better treatment of pregnant pigs at factory farms.


CALIFORNIA

Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger terminated Democrat Phil Angelides, even though the GOP is a minority party in California.

Republican and champion anti-environmentalist Richard Pombo lost his House seat, inland from San Francisco, to Democrat Jerry McNerney, a wind-energy consultant and Ph.D. mathematician.

Seemingly unsinkable Democrat Jerry Brown, mayor of Oakland and ex-Governor Moonbeam, was elected attorney general.

Voters rejected a proposed new tax on California oil companies to raise $4 billion for alternative-energy programs.

 

COLORADO

Democrat Bill Ritter, a Denver prosecutor, took the governorship in a state where his party is a minority, beating anti-tax, pro-oil Congressman Bob Beauprez.

Democrat Ed Perlmutter, promising to develop renewable energy and end the Bush tax cuts, took what had been Beauprez’s House seat, besting Republican Rick O’Donnell, who wanted to deport all undocumented immigrants.

Democrats solidified their hold on the Legislature; for the first time in decades, they control both chambers and the governorship.


IDAHO

Democrats came closer than in some recent election cycles, but Idaho continues to prove itself the nation’s most Republican state, with the GOP sweeping all statewide races. Conservative Congressman Butch Otter is now governor, and anti-abortion zealot Bill Sali has Otter’s old House seat.

Democrats picked up six state legislative seats, chiefly in metro Boise districts; still, they hold just 26 of the 105 total seats.

Boise narrowly rejected a proposal to place a Ten Commandments monument in a city park.


MONTANA

Democrat Jon Tester, a beer-bellied, crewcut-topped organic farmer, barely took the Senate seat of Republican Conrad Burns, a gaffe-prone master of appropriating federal money for Montana projects.

Democrats lost a few state legislative seats, so the parties are nearly even in the House and Senate, making things tougher on Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Voters in two fast-growing counties (liberal Missoula and conservative Ravalli) agreed to tax themselves for $10-million bond issues to buy open space.

 

NEVADA

Republican Rep. Jim Gibbons, who sponsored a recent proposal to sell off federal land, gave up his seat to run for governor and beat Democrat Dina Titus, a University of Nevada-Las Vegas political science professor, 48 to 44 percent. Four percent went for "None of These" — a Nevada innovation allowing voters to express general angst.

Democrats won races for attorney general and three other statewide offices, increased their dominance in the state House and nearly achieved a tie in the state Senate, all of which will pressure Gibbons to govern from the center.

High Country News Classifieds
  • PROFESSIONAL GIS SERVICES
    Custom Geospatial Solutions is available for all of your GIS needs. Affordable, flexible and accurate data visualization and analysis for any sized project.
  • FREE RANGE BISON AVAILABLE
    Hard grass raised bison available in east Montana. You harvest or possible deliver quartered carcass to your butcher or cut/wrapped pickup. Contact Crazy Woman Bison...
  • CONSERVATION ASSOCIATE - OKANOGAN LAND TRUST (NORTH CENTRAL WA)
    Do you enjoy rural living, wild places, and the chance to work with many different kinds of people and accomplish big conservation outcomes? Do you...
  • CARDIGAN WELSH CORGIS
    10 adorable, healthy puppies for sale. 4 males and 6 females. DM and PRA clear. Excellent pedigree from champion lineage. One Red Brindle male. The...
  • A CHILDREN'S BOOK FOR THE CLIMATE CRISIS!!
    "Goodnight Fossil Fuels!" is a an engaging, beautiful, factual and somewhat silly picture book by a climate scientist and a climate artist, both based in...
  • DIGITAL ADVOCACY & MEMBERSHIP MANAGER
    The Digital Advocacy & Membership Manager will be responsible for creating and delivering compelling, engaging digital content to Guardians members, email activists, and social media...
  • DIGITAL OUTREACH COORDINATOR, ARIZONA
    Job Title: Digital Outreach Coordinator, Arizona Position Location: Phoenix or Tucson, AZ Status: Salaried Job ID Number: 52198 We are looking for you! We are...
  • DESCHUTES LAND TRUST VOLUNTEER PROGRAM MANAGER
    The Deschutes Land Trust is seeking an experienced Volunteer Program Manager to join its dedicated team! Deschutes Land Trust conserves and cares for the lands...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming seeks an experienced fundraiser to join our team. We're looking for a great communicator who is passionate about conservation and...
  • INDIAN COUNTRY FELLOWSHIP
    Western Leaders Network is accepting applications for its paid, part-time, 6-month fellowship. Mentorship, training, and engaging tribal leaders in advancing conservation initiatives and climate policy....
  • MULESHOE RANCH PRESERVE MANAGER
    The Muleshoe Ranch Preserve Manager develops, manages, and advances conservation programs, plans and methods for large-scale geographic areas. The Muleshoe Ranch Cooperative Management Area (MRCMA)...
  • ARTEMIS PROGRAM MANAGER
    Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF or Federation) is America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 52 state/territorial affiliates and more...
  • ASSISTANT OR ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES
    Assistant or Associate Professor of Environmental Humanities Whitman College The Environmental Humanities Program at Whitman College seeks candidates for a tenure-track position beginning August 2023...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    High Country Conservation Advocates (HCCA) in Crested Butte, CO is seeking an enthusiastic Executive Director who is passionate about the public lands, natural waters and...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS
    Are you passionate about connecting people to the outdoors? The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) is looking for someone with volunteer management experience to join...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The conservation non-profit Invasive Species Action Network seeks an executive director. We are focused on preventing the human-caused spread of invasive species by promoting voluntary...
  • NEW BOOK: A FEAST OF ECSTATIC VERSE AND IMAGERY
    Dynamic fine art photographer offers use of images to raise funds. Available for use by conservation groups. Contact at www.anecstaticgathering.com.
  • WANTED: TALENTED WRITER
    Write the introduction to A Feast of Ecstatic Verse and Imagery, a book concerning nature and spirituality. Contact at www.anecstaticgathering.com. Writer who works for conservation/nature...
  • MT STATE DIRECTOR- THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY
    The Montana State Director is a member of The Wilderness Society's (TWS) Conservation program team who plays a leading role in advancing the organization's mission...
  • HIGH COUNTRY NEWS EDITORIAL INTERNS
    High Country News, an award-winning magazine covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, is looking for its next cohort of editorial interns....