Election Central

Andrus yells ‘heart attack!’ in a crowded Idaho polling place

Former four-term Idaho Democratic Gov. Cecil Andrus caused a stir last week when he showed up to vote early in the May 20 primary.

Andrus and his wife, Carol, will be out of town Election Day, so he went to the Ada County elections office on Benjamin Lane. Andrus was eager to cast his ballot to nominate his friend A.J. Balukoff for governor and in Democratic contests for U.S. Senate, treasurer and an Idaho House seat in his North and East End Boise legislative district.

After having his ID checked twice and receiving a ballot, Andrus headed for the privacy of a voting booth. But he soon broke the calm, shouting, “Oh, my God! I’m going to have a heart attack!”

Now, a break in our Blogram for a word from our sponsor….

Andrus speaks

….Andrus didn’t actually have a coronary. He wasn’t hospitalized. He’s still alive, at 82. He got his elk last fall and aims to fill his tag again in October.

But he did have a joke at the expense of the Idaho Republican Party.

“They’ve made such a ridiculous charade of it, when it used to be a very simple matter to vote,” Andrus told me Monday after I called to verify the story I’d heard about his eventful voting experience.

I also should note that at mid-morning on the first day of early voting, April 28, there wasn’t really a group so big that Andrus risked crossing the Supreme Court’s shouting-fire-in-a-crowded-theater line.

A handful of voters were present along with elections staff. Most laughed. At least one didn’t.

For the “rest of the story,” check out Tuesday’s front page or IdahoStatesman.com

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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Posted in Election Central, Idaho Politics