What a major difference

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Last week's primary election here seemed like a classic case of "Dewey defeats Truman."

The famed photo showed a sense of bitter irony as a triumphant Harry Truman held up a copy of the Nov. 3, 1948, edition of the Chicago Tribune. The headline of the newspaper showed that New York Governor Thomas Dewey had won the presidential race against Truman -- while the votes were still being counted.

Some readers in Mountain Home and surrounding communities seemed to feel our newspaper made the same rash decision when the paper was put to "bed" the evening of May 15. With the initial votes counted within Elmore County's 18 voting districts, a handful of votes gave two candidates a very narrow lead in their respective races. It was a toss-up on who would actually win.

In each instance, the newspaper emphasized the results that appeared in last week's newspaper were "initial" numbers only. They didn't factor in additional votes cast in other parts of Legislative District 23 in which Elmore County is now part.

Those final figures were released well after the Mountain Home News was printed. To meet our deadline, we ran with the county's initial numbers with the understanding this issue would have the final ones.

What we saw the following day felt a lot like a "Dewey defeats Truman" moment. When the official numbers from parts of Twin Falls and Owyhee counties were added into these other figures, Senator Bert Brackett and Representative Pete Nielsen gained a significant lead over their opponents.

As a weekly newspaper, there are limits we face compared to the around-the-clock news coverage available on the Internet and cable news networks. At some point during each election, we have to run with the initial information. Everyone else has the luxury of waiting for the final numbers before they call a particular political race.

What a difference one night made for Elmore County. For those who won their respective races -- especially those who face another battle in the November elections -- we extend our sincerest congratulations.

We also extend an equal amount of gratitude for those who stepped into the political arena and were unable to claim victory this time around. It's not easy running for office, regardless if it's a seat on the board of county commissioners or with the U.S. House of Representatives. In most cases, these candidates highlighted concerns affecting the lives of others and hoped to make their lives just a little bit better.

And that's a pretty large order to fill.

-- Brian S. Orban