Backers of a state-run lottery pulled out a narrow victory Tuesday, overcoming a well-financed opposition that warned Idaho's entry into the gaming world would lead to higher-stakes gambling.
With final returns in from all but four of Idaho's 44 counties, the proposed constitutional amendment won 201,445 votes, or just under 52 percent, to 188,827, or just over 48 percent."We were under a barrage of media messages to the tune of three-quarters of a million dollars," Larry LaRocco, head of Idahoans for the Lottery, said. "It proves that Idahoans are fiercely independent, and they know when somebody's playing fast and loose with the truth."
A power outage at the computer center where election returns were being gathered from across the state as well as problems with ballot counting in several of the counties slowed the compilation of the vote.
Lottery proponents had counted on a large block of silent supporters who turned out overwhelmingly for a lottery two years ago.
But an anti-lottery coalition, with the backing of some statewide elected officials, nearly eroded that support with a massive advertising blitz in the final month.