Yesterday, the Idaho Constitution Party held a U.S. Senate primary. The results, from the Idaho SOS website:
Ray J. Writz 129 votes 59.2%
Pro-Life 89 votes 40.8%
Additionally, Anthony Tomkins ran unnoposed in the Constitution Party primary in the second congressional district, receiving 81 votes. The Constitution Party of Idaho commented on the Senate primary on May 18th, 2016 at their website:
Unofficial results by he Idaho Secretary of State, Elections office, have Mr. Raymond J. Writz with 59.2% of the ballots cast. His opponent, Mr. Marvin Richardson [aka Pro-Life], took the remaining 40.8%. With a plurality of 40 votes, Mr. Wrtiz will therefore be moving on to the November General Election. Mr. Writz will face Republican incumbent U.S. Senator Michael Crapo and the Democrat challenger Jerry Sturgill.
Within CP-Idaho, Mr. Writz’s CP-Idaho primary victory was definitive. That said, candidates of every quarter who stood in yesterday’s May 17th 2016 primary must have been dismayed by an abysmal turnout. This was not unique to CP-Idaho. It was true across the entire state, across all parties. Turnout to the May 2016 Idaho Primary was anemic at best.
Perhaps the customary congratulatory post to the primary victor may be a somewhat improper place to chide non-participating voters. Nonetheless, when voter turnout is barely detectable, it is not possible to operate a representative republic, not well at any rate.
Yesterday, CP-Idaho turned out 218 voters, unofficially, in the statewide primary. Roughly, that equates to about 17% of our registered base in Idaho. Our May 17th turnout was less than half of the participant voters we logged only two months ago, in the CP-Idaho Presidential Primary on March 8th, 2016.
Again, this was the case for the other political parties in Idaho as well. Statewide yesterday, about 146,500 voters cast ballots. This represents only about 19% of Idaho’s currently registered 763,932 voters. So, CP-Idaho’s participation rate yesterday was roughly in-line with the depressed statewide turnout.
Given that the primary results four years ago in 2012 were declared (with a 23% turnout) to be a new low, we expect that 2016 will best that record. A dubious honor to be sure. Despite whatever qualifications a candidate may or may not have, voters must get actively involved in their own self government.
We congratulate Mr. Writz on his hard earned victory. We extend our respects to his opponent, candidate Pro-Life.
Candidates lay out significant time and treasure. We mention this not to scold, but rather to inform our citizenry of the rigors of seeking office. Just the filing fee for U.S. Senator is a $500 outlay; and this says nothing of the expense of campaign trips, the time spent in phone banks, neighborhood canvassing and media advertisements.
Both of the CP-Idaho gentlemen candidates travelled some distance to the Lewiston Debate on May 7th, for example. We, the leadership of CP-Idaho, hosted this event because it was the only appropriate method by which the public could directly compare the two candidates, side-by-side. In other words, it was our duty to provide. That too has its cost…to the state affiliate as well.
Campaigns develop over time, sometimes an extended time and at a substantial expenditure. In the case of Mr. Writz, he busied himself last year, joining and assisting the campaign of CP-Idaho presidential candidate Scott Copeland who toured north Idaho in early May 2015. These are the sorts of events that develop and nurture our citizen led political organization when we have citizens supporting these efforts. We could not have a state affiliate without that. And…we cannot have a functioning citizens’ statewide political alternative without their participation.
To those registered CP-Idaho citizens who did turnout and cast their preference ballots yesterday, we give a truly heartfelt thank you. And we suspect that both gentlemen candidates would agree.