The fireworks will be over on May 16

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In all probability, Idaho will elect its next governor May 15, not Nov. 6.

Itís exceedingly likely the person who will be representing North Idaho in Congress next year will also be chosen May 15, not Nov. 6.

Seats in the Idaho Legislature? May 15.

Powerful positions in Kootenai County government? May 15.

If you say that May 15 is only the primary election ó the supposed winnowing of partiesí candidates to face off in November ó you would be correct. But you would be mistaken if you assumed that the primary is merely a preliminary, a warm-up, a spring training game before the real season begins. May 15 for many candidates will be the championship game.

Consider:

• Itís been 28 years since a Democrat, the esteemed Cecil Andrus, served as Idaho governor.

• Democrat U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick beat one of the weakest incumbents Idaho has ever seen, Bill Sali, in 2008. Minnick served just one term and was soundly beaten in 2010 by Raul Labrador. Otherwise, only Republicans have ruled the First Congressional District roost since the 1994 election.

• Today, not one single Democrat is serving in a Kootenai County government elected position.

• Today, not one single Democrat is serving in the Idaho Legislature from Kootenai County.

• From Plummer north to the Canadian border, not one Democrat is serving in the Idaho Legislature.

Searching Kootenai County voting records through the past several general elections, Republicans typically enjoy roughly a 2-to-1 advantage over their Democrat opponents. The only close races in Kootenai County almost always occur in the primary election, not the general.

So whatís the point? The point is, if youíre registered in any party other than Republican, youíre probably not going to have any impact in the 2018 elections.

The decisions to select the people who are going to represent you at the county level, in the Idaho Legislature, as governor and as U.S. representative will almost certainly happen May 15. If youíre not registered Republican, youíll just have to watch other people decide whether they want moderate conservatives or extreme conservatives making all the important decisions.

Independents can affiliate with any party at any time, including Election Day. If youíre registered in a party other than Republican, however, you have only until this Friday, March 9, to change your affiliation to Republican.

If you so choose, go to the county elections office, 1808 N. Third St., Coeur díAlene, weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to change your affiliation. It takes very little time but could make a very big difference.

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