Democrats gain power nationwide, expected to weaken Bush, Republican anti-conservation policies

The Democrats gained easy control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in 12 years, and they might still win the U.S. Senate. They also picked up a majority of governors and state legislatures.

A sweet victory came in California were the allegedly corrupt anti-wildlife, public-land-privatizing chair of the House Resources Committee, Richard Pombo, was given the boot. In Montana, Democrat John Tester held a narrow lead in the still undecided US Senate race against corrupt, anti-conservation senator Conrad Burns, Montana’s national embarrassment.

In Idaho, however, there was little good news for conservation with the election of Republican Butch Otter and Bill Sali, widely perceived as a right-wing extremist interested only in abortion, as Otter’s congressional replacement. Idaho voters overwhelmingly rejected the extreme property rights measure, proposition 2, 77-23%. That measure would require government compensation if any land use law such as zoning reduced the speculative value of anyone’s property. Opposition to Prop 2 came from across the political spectrum.

Wyoming’s oil and gas congresswomen Barbara Cubin held a 700 vote lead over Democrat Gary Trauner. Cubin had been widely criticized for her subservience to these powerful industries. Wyoming Democratic governor Dave Freudenthal, whose conservation record is just fair, won a huge reelection victory over his hapless GOP opponent.

With control of the U.S. House Democrats will have the power to investigate corruption in the Dept. of Interior and in the Bush Administration in general. It is possible Bush will abandon his Rovian strategy of playing exclusively to the Republican base with no concessions to any interests beyond that. If not, Democrats will block any anti-conservation legislation. Rethinking their party’s stance, it is possible Republican congressionals will return to their stance of 20 or so years ago and show some bipartisanship and support some conservation measures. Bush is massively unpopular and six years of dividing Americans against each other has finally ended in his big defeat.

– – – – –

More on the election outcomes-

Link to “Say no to Pombo.” “Congressman McNerney.”

In the Bozeman area in Montana, former head of the Yellowstone wolf project, Mike Phillips, was elected to the Montana House of Representatives.

Update. Tester beats Burns.

Update. Allen Concedes Election, Democrats Win Control of Congress. By Michael D. Shear. Washington Post Staff Writer. Thursday, November 9, 2006; 5:36 PM






Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan