New lawmakers talk about their worrisome election nights

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by Justin Corr

NWCN.com

Posted on November 7, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 1:42 AM

BOISE -- Some key legislative races came down to the wire in the "Battleground Districts." It made for tense moments and little sleep for the candidates and as always, changes in the state legislature next year.

Two years ago, Democrat Janie Ward-Engelking lost her race for District 18 Representative in South Boise, by just seven votes.

"That's a painful way to lose an election," said Ward-Engleking (D-Boise).

But after that heartbreak, Ward-Engelking decided there were still key issues she wanted to address in the legislature, like education reform. She ran again in her battleground district, in a rematch against Representative Julie Ellsworth. While the results weren't nearly as close (more than 2000 votes), they were still close enough to keep her up literally all night.

"To be real honest with you, I haven't been to bed yet," said Ward-Engelking on Wednesday afternoon. "So, we figured at about 5:30 that we were going to be OK. Everybody said, 'Let's open the... let's do something!' And I said, 'No, let's wait. We need to see the final results.'"

She finally celebrated at 7:00am. What was the difference this time around? The retired teacher says it could have been the people who voted down props 1, 2, and 3, since she opposed those referenda.

"My fate was intertwined with those bills," said the Representative-elect.

We caught up with Republican Fred Martin picking up his signs. Martin has been involved in politics for decades, but this year's campaign was his first as a candidate. He faced Betty Richardson for Senator in another battleground district (15 in West Boise). He did not find out the results until the morning, from an unlikely source.

"I got a very nice call from my opponent," said Martin (R-Boise). "She said, 'Congratulations, you won.' I didn't know that I had won."

The Senator-elect won by around 700 votes, and replaces 9-term Senator John Adreason. Therefore, he has some big shoes to fill, and knows he is going to have to get to work quickly.

"Hopefully now that the election is over, hopefully we can take of... there's a lot of problems that we need to address. We need to look at healthcare. We need to look at education," said Martin. "How do we proceed forward? Hopefully, we can do it on a biaprtisan basis."

With those results, the number of democrats and republicans in the state senate and house do not change.

They will likely be taking up education reform in the coming session. It took 22 months to put together the reform the last time.

 

 

 

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