Stage set for showdown in November |

Stage set for showdown in November

The final pieces of the puzzle fell into place yesterday on Super Tuesday, and like the outcome of the Academy Awards on Sunday, the result was about what election handicappers predicted – but with a few surprises.

In the presidential race, Massachusetts’ John Kerry cemented his bid to challenge President George W. Bush in November. The preliminary bouts seem to have gone on for years, but the real battle is just beginning as the major parties amass cash for candidate brand advertising. They can keep the ads – there are plenty of differences between the two for debate.

On statewide economic propositions, voters seemed willing to give Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a chance to turn things around by giving him his $15 billion bond measure. But they showed they want firm hands on the spending reins by favoring a balanced-budget act and rejecting a proposition to make it easier to raise taxes. Voters also said it was the wrong time to float bonds for state public-school construction and growth of Sierra College (although Nevada Countians strongly supported their local community college campus).

On the Nevada County Board of Supervisors, District 2’s Sue Horne will be returning next January and Ted Owens will be the newcomer from Truckee. But nothing comes easy in District 1, where neither Olivia Diaz nor Nate Beason were able to deliver a knockout punch. They will put on the gloves again for the November general election.

Did Josh Ramey play spoiler by siphoning off conservative votes from Beason? Did Diaz throw away an outright win with a last-minute anti-Beason mailer that turned off swing voters? Further analysis may tell.

In a four-way game of musical chairs for three City Council seats in Nevada City, Ruth Poulter was the one left out. Newcomer Sally Harris surprised everyone with the strongest finish. Steve Cottrell was returned for a fourth four-year term, although with nemesis Dave McKay returning as well, chances are slim that he’ll achieve his hope of becoming mayor.

As this phase of the election season ends, we have two fervent hopes. One is that we have at least a few months of respite before the rhetoric bombards us again. The second is that – at least in Nevada County – the maximum emphasis continues to be on finding the best solution for crucial problems that face us.

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