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by TED S. McGREGOR JR. & r & & r & Way To Go, Washington! & r & & r & In this space a few weeks ago, we mentioned that our own Evergreen State must have the most confounding presidential primary anywhere. We've got a caucus, and a vote -- but the Democrats aren't counting the ballots, even though the Republicans are (but only half). Even the New York Times seems to agree, in a story from earlier this week that reads, " appears that the primary, first approved in a 1988 referendum with the goal of giving greater voice to voters who might not be able or inclined to attend a party caucus, may have the distinction of being one of the few essentially irrelevant contests in a presidential race so fierce this year..."

Well, it may be irrelevant, but at least it was expensive. The story goes on to point out that the $10 million, taxpayer-funded election will result in choosing just 19 Republican convention delegates. That, as one Democrat points out in the story, costs us about $526,000 per delegate.

Hooch On Hold

Ever wonder why Idaho elections seem so tame? Sure, it may be because there are barely any Democrats, but a more likely explanation is the long-time state ban on liquor sales on Election Day. All that could change, however, as Big Liquor is seeking a change in the law with a bill now winding its way through the Statehouse. So far the Idaho House has endorsed letting Idahoans rip after their annual enfranchisement, but North Idaho's Dick Harwood (R-St. Maries) and Phil Hart (R-Athol) voted against it.

Cease Fire?

Believe it or not, there's a lull coming on the presidential primary calendar. After the whirlwind of these past two months, candidates will have two full weeks between Tuesday's votes in Wisconsin, Washington and Hawaii and the March 4 primaries in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont. Watch your favorite pundits for signs of withdrawal.


John McCain may have the nomination tied up, but he doesn't want to stumble into the general election, barely able to beat Mike Huckabee with Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton looming. If Huckabee wins in Texas, that could be a big headache for McCain. So watch how Ron Paul does in his home state -- he could siphon enough votes to give Huckabee a chance.
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