BOISE, Idaho -- It's final stretch for campaigns in Idaho, and certainly around the country, with election day looming on November 6th. Those in close races have less than a week and a half to get the momentum moving in their direction, and in one particular race, that means lots and lots of money.
That is the big issue in Idaho, said KTVB Political Analyst Dr. Jim Weatherby, referring to the debate over Propositions 1, 2, and 3, and it's only getting bigger.
Weatherby says the congressional races, the state legislative races, and county races have high interest, but most will be landslide victories. But, he says, that won't be the case with the vote on the Propositions. I think people are having difficulty making up their mind, and are confused by the referendum measures to a degree. The question is, how will they break?
Also, no other race has seen the kind of spending that the campaigns for and against the education reform propositions have seen.
Those in favor of the propositions have raised and spent at least half a million dollars. A new ad paid for by eastern Idaho millionaire Frank VanderSloot came out just last week. It features Governor Mitt Romney condemning the teachers unions.
That's why Weatherby wasn't surprised when, in the past few days, the National Education Association (the teachers' union) gave another three quarters of a million dollars to the Vote No on Props 1, 2, and 3 campaign. That pushed the money raised and spent by that group to more than $2 million.
Some of the proponents seem to have made this more of a union issue, than education reform issue, said Weatherby. I'm not surprised that the NEA is weighing in here with more resources.
But with a little more than a week until the election, will new money and new ads now really affect the results? If it's as close as we're led to believe by the polls, it certainly could make a difference, as people come to making decisions, said Weatherby.
Weatherby added that he believes the voting on Propositions 1, 2, and 3 is what's driving the huge turnout in early voting, which is now at record levels.