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Trail Mix - 07.05.12 

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BEWARE OF IMAGINARY ISSUES

It became obvious last week that all the purging of voters in states with Republican-controlled legislatures really has nothing to do with voter fraud.

In a sleepy Republican State Committee meeting in Pennsylvania, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai rattled off his party’s accomplishments. Trouble was, a pesky reporter recorded his comments, including when Turzai told the group, “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania: Done.”

No mention of voter fraud as the reason for the effort. But then, even George W. Bush’s Justice Department found “virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections,” according to the New York Times — just 120 people have been charged for the crime in the entire nation. Hey, at least Turzai’s willing to stand up for what he believes: that fewer Americans should vote.

“HELP ME REFORM CONGRESS!”

That’s the subject line of a June 19 email soliciting re-election funds for… Cathy McMorris Rodgers?! She’s been there since 2005 — what’s she been waiting for?

PUSHING OUTWARD

Time for another installment on how your state legislative district has changed for 2012: This week, it’s the 3rd District — nearly all of which is inside Spokane city limits. It’s also among the most urban and poorest districts in the state. It’s been a Democratic stronghold for years.

And it’s growing. No longer is 17th Avenue the southern boundary; now between Grand and Havana, the 3rd District runs all the way up to 29th Avenue. To the northwest, the 3rd will cover more territory to the west of Ash and the north of Garland, including a bit of the Five-Mile neighborhood. And to the east, it now extends into the Valley, taking in the business district along Trent out to Felts Field.

The farther south and north, the less D and the more R the district becomes. Still, it doesn’t look like the expansion of the 3rd will be enough to change its character. But it could change the 6th — the district Trail Mix will look at next week.

The 3rd is in upheaval, however, as longtime Sen. Lisa Brown decided not to run again. Andy Billig, the incumbent Democratic state rep, wants her job, as does Spokane City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin. Three Democrats — Bob Apple, Marcus Riccelli and Jon Snyder — want Billig’s old seat, while two Rs are in that race, too — Tim Benn and Morgan Oyler. That’s going to be a wild one; remember, it’s the top two finishers, so we could have a general election race between two Democrats. As for the other state rep seat, incumbent Timm Ormsby will face the GOP’s Dave White in November.

To check out the new maps, go to redistricting.wa.gov.

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