Here’s a link to my full story in today’s Spokesman-Review on the developments in the Sali-Minnick race yesterday, from Sali agreeing to change a misleading claim in an anti-Minnick TV ad to a clash between the candidates on use of congressional staff in the campaign. This morning, Sali’s “Veterans for Sali” group held a press conference to object to a new issue ad being run by an outside group, Patriot Majority West, that’s critical of three of Sali’s votes in Congress on veterans’ issues. “Tell Bill Sali to stop voting against our veterans and their families,” the ad says; you can watch it here.
The 527 group, one of several headed by Democratic political consultant Craig Varoga, was formerly called Citizens for Progress, and its financial backers include labor unions and the Democratic Governors Association. It’s also currently running an ad in New Mexico critical of Darren White, a county sheriff and GOP candidate for Congress there.
At the “Veterans for Sali” event, Marcel Bujarski, a U.S. Coast Guard retiree from Meridian, joined other retired vets for doughnuts and coffee this morning and spoke out for Sali. “I know that Bill Sali will always support a strong military,” Bujarski said. The Sali campaign didn’t dispute the ad’s claim that Sali voted against the three veterans’ bills; it said instead that two of the bills contained other issues that prompted Sali’s opposition, and on the third, that he objected to legislation requiring longer breaks between deployments to Iraq because it “undermines the ability of the president to act as commander-in-chief” and Sali saw it as “an attempt to withdraw troops from Iraq, rather than actually implement a thoughtful rest-between-deployments policy.”