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Government and Politics

Northwest Election Summary: Guns, Governors And Pot

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The Republican capture of the U.S. Senate was the big national news last night. But in the Northwest, the toughest fights weren’t over Senate seats but ballot initiatives – on guns, pot and genetically engineered foods.

Oregon became the latest state to legalize recreational marijuana. Democratic Congressman Earl Blumenauer said it’s a sign of what’s to come.

“This means that the marijuana reform train has left the station,” he said.

Oregon voters said no to a top-two primary and yes to giving Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber another term. A hotly contested measure to label genetically engineered foods is down, but still too close to call.

In Washington, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility asked voters to expand background checks and got a yes Tuesday night. Voters also turned down a competing measure to limit background checks.

And in Idaho, Republican Governor Butch Otter had no trouble defeating his big-spending Democratic challenger.

“We’re the reddest of the red states in the United States of America. Let’s stay that way!” he said to cheers.

But in the race for Idaho state schools chief, Republican Sherri Ybarra beat her Democratic opponent by just 5,700 votes.