June Judd has big lead in House race

June Judd has big lead in House race

Winston Ross Staff writer

June Judd is on her way to a comeback. With most of the votes counted, Don Pischner may be on his way out of office. And Lee Pittmon and Lyndon Harriman were battling it out in a tight primary election race Tuesday.

“I worked hard,” Judd said.

“Steve (Johnson) didn’t campaign all that much. I’ll be getting ready for the next five months, I guess.”

Judd said she thought Tuesday’s vote for the state House, District 2 – at least in her race – said something about term limits. Johnson, her opponent, said he promised never to repeal a vote of the people if elected.

He wasn’t elected.

“I would have done what Dick (Harwood) did,” Judd said. “My district voted against term limits. I would have upheld what my county wanted. It appears term limits wasn’t that big of an issue.”

With 28 percent of precincts reporting, Judd was carrying 70 percent of the vote against Johnson.

With 93 percent of precincts reporting in the District 5 House Republican primary, Charles Eberle, a Post Falls School Board Member, was beating incumbent Pischner by 53 percent to 47 percent.

Harriman was beating Pittmon by eight votes in the Democratic primary for the same seat.

Judd and Johnson, who have both been teachers, made education key parts of their campaigns. They lambasted lawmakers’ cuts in education funding this year.

Judd clearly edged Johnson in experience, with 10 years in the Legislature from 1990 to 2000. But she also lost to Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, two years ago, which might have signaled a decline in voter confidence.

Johnson, a Sagle resident, is a teacher at Lake Pend Oreille High School. He’s known in Bonner County for getting fired from Southside Elementary School for speaking out against district policies on achievement testing.

He sued the district and won.

But it was Judd who won the right to face Harwood, who ran unopposed in the primary, in November.

“I’ll just get out, meet the people and let them choose,” Judd said.

Pischner, R-Coeur d’Alene, has hung on to his seat in the House for six years. He serves on Idaho’s important Joint Finance Appropriations Committee, which doles out state funds.

The committee also approved cuts in education funding this year, put forth by the governor and enacted by the entire Legislature.

So Eberle was an appropriate foe in the Republican primary. Eberle is a Post Falls School Board member. But he campaigned on a platform of smaller state government.

He said the state budget has doubled in the last 10 years, but the services haven’t. Lawmakers should be more frugal with tax dollars.

The race was too close to call late Tuesday.

As Democrats, Pittmon and Harriman both thought it important to try to reverse the Republican monopoly over the state of Idaho.

Harriman, a teacher in the Post Falls School District and North Idaho’s representative of the Idaho Education Association, said lawmakers were “stealing” from children in order to hang onto record tax cuts.

Pittmon owns a small machine shop in Post Falls called Meson Research and Development. He has a windmill on his property, that has Avista Utilities paying him for power.

Pittmon has criticized Republicans adherence to tax cuts, while also slashing state budgets. He wants to review Idaho’s sales tax, including its exemptions.

Copyright 2002 Cowles Publishing Company

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