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GOP tour bus hits the road

Here’s another sign that it’s election season in Idaho: The Republican campaign bus is on the road. The bus left Boise early this morning, headed toward North Idaho with stops on the way.
Campaign volunteer Jack Raymond said this year’s is the fifth GOP campaign bus tour for him and his wife, Mary Jane. Even on his first, stumping for Phil Batt back in 1994, the retiree said he kept up with the younger volunteers just fine. “I covered more ground,” he said. “I was a walking postman for my career, so I always used to walk.”
But Raymond also said he’s gotten left behind the bus three times, from getting so engrossed in campaigning and distributing literature that he hasn’t made it back before the bus pulled out. He always hooked back up with the tour, thanks to a chase car, and one time, a helpful sheriff’s deputy in Spirit Lake who chased down the bus.
“We just enjoy doing it,” Raymond said. “It’s like getting together with family, folks who have common interests.”
In these photos, “wagonmaster” Rosie White, in yellow, gives last-minute instructions to campaign volunteers including Raymond, in the ball cap, before the bus’s first stop in Cascade; and U.S. Rep. Butch Otter talks to high school students in Cascade. The students gathered in a downtown parking lot to get a chance to question Otter, while the campaign bus waited in the background.
Several of their questions focused on the new ISAT high-stakes graduation test. “What if we don’t pass the test – are we still going to graduate?” a young woman asked the congressman.
He told them that’s up to their local school district, and recalled how when his own son got a D, he made him go to summer school. The teen may not have appreciated it at the time, Otter said, but he did later.
The GOP tour bus, which is picking up more candidates and volunteers as it goes, is headed for Lewiston tonight, Moscow, Plummer and Coeur d’Alene tomorrow, and Sandpoint, Kellogg, Wallace and Post Falls the next day. On Friday, it’ll be St. Maries, Potlatch, Orofino, Kamiah, Kooskia and Grangeville.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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