A few thoughts on a few, somewhat random, topics...

Politics makes strange bedfellows. I was fascinated by the announcement last week of “Idaho United Against Prop 1” to oppose the so-called historic horse racing ballot measure.  The purpose Prop 1 is to reauthorize betting by machine on past races that are displayed in a video clip.

The members of this opposition group are:

  • Ken Andrus, a former GOP state legislator from Lava Hot Springs
  • Ernie Stensgar, chairman of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe
  • A.J. Balukoff, Boise businessman and former Democratic gubernatorial candidate
  • Doyle Beck, Idaho Falls businessman and conservative Republican activist
  • John Evans, mayor of Garden City and Treasure Valley real estate developer
  • Steve and Marilyn Griffitts, mayor of Hayden and Idaho public school teacher
  • Brent Hill, Rexburg Republican senator and Idaho State Senate Pro Tempore
  • Barry McHugh, Kootenai County prosecuting attorney
  • Ron Nilson, Coeur d’Alene businessman
  • Doug Ricks, newly elected GOP representative elect from Rexburg
  • Mary Souza, GOP state senator from Coeur d’Alene

What is striking is the number of Mormons and folks from Coeur d’Alene, presumably driven by the Coeur d’Alene tribe’s opposition.  The irony is that the some are philosophically anti-gambling while another part of this coalition want to minimize competition with existing gambling operations.

Ahhh . . politics.

Medicaid expansion plows ahead. Awhile back I noted that opponents of the Medicaid expansion initiative needed to obtain the support of Idaho’s business community.  That is not happening.  In fact, key, large Idaho businesses are moving behind the issue.  That is deadly to the diminishing hopes of opponents.

With a strong lead in the polls, a broad-based coalition and substantial resources, I see a win for the measure in November.

U.S. Chamber report on Idaho trade risk. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that Idaho is one of the 13 states at risk of  “extremely significant damage” from the current trade conflict.

According to the Chamber, Idaho has $192 million (more than half to Canada) in exports now subject to tariffs and thus likely to sharp decline.

Is Paulette Jordan blowing her chance? Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan is young and charismatic. Idaho Democrats have been hopeful she could close the gap with Brad Little.

Yet, less than 60 days from election day, Jordan has not run any significant television, radio or online messages.  Some speculate that she is struggling to fundraise.

I have another theory.  I suspect the Jordan campaign is putting much of its hope in the idea that Medicaid expansion will drive out new and infrequent voters who will back her in sufficient numbers.  If so, that is naïve without a vigorous effort to persuade those who end up voting.

I am willing to bet that the Little folks are pretty happy right now.

Steve Taggart is an Idaho Falls attorney specializing in bankruptcy (www.MaynesTaggart.com).  He has an extensive background in politics and public policy. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..