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Republican announces Democrat’s run?

Got a surprising news release a few minutes ago from Sheila Sorensen’s congressional campaign. Sorensen, a former longtime GOP state senator, is running for the District 1 congressional seat that Butch Otter will vacate in two years to run for governor. The heading on her release?

“SORENSEN EXCITED TO FACE LAROCCO IN 2006 GENERAL ELECTION”

Larry LaRocco, a Democrat, held the 1st District seat for two terms in the early 1990s, before losing the seat to Helen Chenoweth. But LaRocco, who’s pondering making the race, hasn’t announced yet.

“I think there’s a good chance to win that seat back – I’ve been the only Democrat that’s held that seat in the last 30 years,” LaRocco told KBCI-TV in Boise today. The TV reporters then contacted Sorensen for comment, and her campaign put out the press release.

“I look forward to debating Larry in 13 months, to highlight who’s better able to ensure less federal intrusion and greater personal responsibility,” Sorensen said in her release.

She and Republican Norm Semanko have been campaigning for several months; others still are expected to join the race for the open congressional seat.

LaRocco, reached by phone a few minutes ago, said, “I’m looking at the race, I’m serious about it, and I’m giving myself until the end of May to make up my mind.”

Meanwhile, word is that Sandy Patano, the Coeur d’Alene aide to U.S. Sen. Larry Craig who’s been rumored as a candidate, has decided not to run, and state Controller Keith Johnson likely will announce his candidacy for the seat next month.

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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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