Nail-Biter Races In Idaho, Vermont, Just Kidding. Your Senate Sunday Is Close To Its End!
In the good old days, driving while stinko was FUNNY
Yr Wonkette's little Write About All 34 Senate Races Project is in crunch time, kids: five weeks to the general election, and six Senate races in our great republic left to profile. Happily, there are several races where the outcome is clearly "Duh, the incumbent" and in several of those, "the incumbent is Duh" also applies. Take Yr Doktor Zoom's home state of Idaho, for instance. Please.
Republican Mike Crapo has only a few things to distinguish him from the grey mass of Republican Senatedom. For one, there's his name, which though ripe with comic potential, is disappointingly pronounced KRAY-po. This very weekend, he's in the news for being among the safely gonna-be-reelected Republicans who are undorsing Donald Trump; Crapo issued a statement Saturday calling for the party to replace Trump with a "conservative candidate like Mike Pence who can defeat Hillary Clinton," which is wishful thinking on several counts. But at least he managed to work a little campaigning into his denunciation of the thin-skinned tribblehead:
His repeated actions and comments toward women have been disrespectful, profane and demeaning. I have spent more than two decades working on domestic violence prevention. Trump's most recent excuse of "locker room talk" is completely unacceptable and is inconsistent with protecting women from abusive, disparaging treatment.
Good on him for the domestic violence prevention -- he was one of the few R's who broke with the crowd and voted for reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013; Idaho's other senator, Jim "Really? He exists?" Risch, voted against it since it expanded protection for gay couples and even undocumented immigrants.
Then there's Crapo's largely unremarkable Senate career, where he's been reliably rightwing and not a lot of trouble. Anti-abortion, pro-gun, anti-spending, the usual. In 2012, Crapo was one of the Senate's "gang of eight," which was supposed to make everything better in the "Fiscal Cliff" negotiations, if you're into trivial matters like keeping the government open. They were less a gang than a group, or perhaps a gaggle. The whole experience must have been very stressful, since -- in one of the only times he did anything interesting enough to make Yr Wonkette -- he was arrested in December 2012 for drunk driving through Arlington (the city, not the cemetery), a definite no-no for a practicing Mormon like Crapo. The brief scandal was hardly career-destroying, since he was pulled over before wrecking his car or hurting anyone, and he's stayed off the sauce since.
Crapo has also done some bipartisan goodness, like in 2009,when he brought together a coalition of "ranchers, recreationists, conservationists, county commissioners and others to resolve land-management issues and designate a new wilderness in southern Idaho," a nice land-protection act called the Owyhee Initiative. Also, too, he's a friend to the microbrewery industry, because while Mormons may not drink, a lot of them in Idaho grow barley and hops. Strange beer-making bedfellows and all that.
The Sacrificial Democrat this year -- nobody wants a repeat of 2004, when Crapo ran unopposed -- is a nice fellow named Jerry Sturgill, who hasn't got a chance. (Full disclosure: Yr Dok Zoom's ex has been phone-banking and canvassing for Sturgill, which is admirable for the sake of party-building and eventually getting Idaho past its current Republican stranglehold, but won't get Sturgill elected.) He, too, is a Mormon, so you'd better bet that's herbal tea in his Outdoorsy Mug there. He's a graduate of BYU Law Schools and going with the best hope for a minority-party guy going up against a longtime incumbent, the "Washington has Changed Mike Crapo" narrative:
“I think historically he’s been a pretty good senator,” Sturgill said, “but in the last few years, especially the last three, he’s changed. D.C. has changed him.”
Sturgill said, “The DUI was the most visible example. What was he even doing in D.C. the day before the day before Christmas? … I have at least anecdotal evidence that people are, to put it kindly, disappointed in him. He professed to be a good member of our church. He held high office in the church, and basically lived a double life.”
Sturgill also contended that since the incident, Crapo has changed as a senator. “He has skewed way to the right, and he’s not as effective as he has been,” he said.
Issues-wise, Sturgill is a red-state Democrat, talking up agriculture and economic growth, but also cautiously progressive in terms designed not to scare anyone that he's a red, calling for wage equality and incremental increases in the minimum wage, and quoting one of Yr Wonkette's favorite billionaires on why income inequality needs to be addressed:
With smart, fair decisions about our economy and education, we can lift all boats. As Nick Hanauer said, “the fundamental law of capitalism is: When workers have more money, businesses have more customers.”
So that's nice. He's gonna get creamed (mid-September polling has Crapo up 57% - 20%), but he's running a real campaign and doing what he can to remind Idahoans that there actually is another party in this godforsaken rightwing state, so good on him.
We should also mention that perennial losing candidate "Pro-Life," who legally changed his name from Marvin Richardson years ago so someone named Pro-Life could be on the ballot, actually lost the Constitution Party's primary -- such as it was -- in May to some guy named Ray Writz, but it was close. Writz got 131 votes statewide, and Pro-Life 89. Pro-Life is notable mostly for being continually frustrated by his attempts to be identified solely as "Pro-Life" on Idaho ballots. First he changed his name to Marvin Pro-Life Richardson, and the secretary of state decided to only list him as Marvin P. Richardson on the ballot, insisting the ballot should simply list names and parties, not political positions. Then he changed his name to nothing but Pro-Life, and was again thwarted when an anti-abortion group objected that he damn sure didn't represent them, because he's a nut. Ever since then, he's been listed on the ballot as "Pro-Life (A person, formerly known as Marvin Richardson)." He'll no doubt be back in two years to run for governor or strawberry queen or something, and in the meantime you can find him at any major political event with a huge signboard plastered with photos of bloody fetuses.
Our other no-brainer Senate Race today takes us to Vermont, where incumbent Democrat Patrick Leahy, the most senior member of the Senate, is seeking an eighth term, which he will win easily against Republican Scott Milne, who you know is a serious candidate because he has a website. This is a step up from only having a Facebook page, but Milne's website is remarkably uncontaminated by content. No tabs for "issues" or even "about Scott." But the homepage tells you a lot about him:
No, those are not links. He appears to be taking that "taciturn New Englander" thing as a campaign stance; we had a heck of a time rustling up information on Milne, who seems to run for quite a few things, and even came close to beating incumbent Gov. Peter Shumlin in 2014. In that year's gubernatorial debate, he gave "dodgy, waffling answers," and while he acknowledged climate change is real, he also doesn't think government needs to spend any money on doing anything about it. In a recent radio interview, Milne said that if North Korea keeps building nuclear weapons, we should do something for sure, although he wavered on whether that should be diplomacy or a full-scale invasion:
I, I think we need to, um, support a strong South Korea, we need to not provoke ‘em, but we need to be, if they continue down this nuclear path, we don’t want to be drawing lines in the sand in my opinion, we want to have quiet diplomatic dialogue with them, hopefully there’s a change in the regime there, but they’re gonna have to join the, um, the world as we know it now or they’re going to have to be taken out.
Milne "clarified" that maybe we shouldn't have defended South Korea in 1950 either, unless we'd committed to taking over the entire Korean Peninsula, which suggests he doesn't know history good. And Until Saturday, Milne literally wouldn't say who he supported for president, and initially refused to say whether Donald Trump's position on grabbing women by the pussy would change that stance; he later called a local reporter to say, yeah, that really did rule out Trump, though he still won't commit to any other candidate. When Leahy is overwhelmingly reelected, it's unclear whether Milne will actually concede. Wait and see!
There's also another candidate in the Vermont senate race, Cris Ericson, who lost her attempt to beat Leahy in the primary and is now running as a representative of the United States Marijuana Party. We can only imagine what her main issues might be.
Want to help Idaho Democrats say "Hey, we exist!" Jerry Sturgill's donation page is here! Patrick Leahy has plenty of money, so if you want to give him some, you can use the Googles. Or instead, you could help Yr Wonkette in our mission to slog through all 34 of this year's Senate races. We can do it!