Automated phone calls have gone out across the 1st Congressional District, and folks whose dinners are interrupted, when they first pick up the phone, are getting the impression the pesky, aggressive calls are coming from Larry Grant’s campaign. But they’re not – they’re from the Republican National Congressional Committee on behalf of Bill Sali. “It’s not us!” the Grant campaign declared in a press release Friday. “We, too, have been getting them and find them just as annoying as everyone else.”
The calls include one that starts out, “When you go to the polls on Nov. 7 you’ll see the name ‘Larry Grant’ on the ballot. Let me tell you a little about Larry Grant….”
Sali’s campaign said Friday it had nothing to do with the calls, but over the weekend, the campaign issued a statement criticizing them and calling them “unnecessary.” “I have not heard the phone calls, but I have heard from enough Idahoans who have,” Sali said in the statement. “They tell me the calls are unnecessarily aggressive and that it is very difficult to tell who paid for the calls. That is not the kind of campaigning that Sali for Congress will engage in. We will only engage on the issues.”
However, the Grant campaign took issue with the way Sali’s doing that as well, saying Sali has "gone negative" by sending out mailings and airing radio ads that distort Grant’s positions on issues and contain a “patently false claim regarding Grant’s stand on illegal immigrants.” Sali’s latest mailer claims Grant supports amnesty for illegal aliens – something both Grant and Sali have strongly rejected. In my recent three-part series on issues in this race, an entire article focused on immigration and contained extensive interviews on all the candidates’ stands; you can read it here. Both rejected amnesty, with Grant saying that he views immigration as a separate issue from jobs or border security. Those who want to permanently settle here, he said, should “get at the end of the line like anyone else.” Sali’s campaign on Friday maintained, however, that they still say Grant supports something like amnesty because of his support for work permits for foreign workers.