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.

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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

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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