2nd District Congressman Mike Simpson, who won 85 percent of the vote in the 2008 GOP primary and 71 percent support in that year’s November general election, is facing two challengers in the GOP primary this year, both of whom are taking political shots at the six-term congressman, former Idaho House speaker and former Blackfoot dentist. Simpson will debate the two - Chick Heileson of Iona, and state Rep. Russ Mathews of Idaho Falls - tonight on live TV; the public is invited to the debate, which will start at 7 p.m. in the Capitol Auditorium. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and close 15 minutes before the start of the live broadcast; noise, applause and demonstrations are prohibited during the debate. The debate will be broadcast statewide on Idaho Public Television; it’s co-sponsored by the Idaho Press Club, the Idaho League of Women Voters and an array of media co-sponsors.
AP reporter John Miller, in an article today on the race, reports these quotes from each of the challengers: Heileson, a member of the anti-communist John Birch Society, tells prospective voters when Simpson says he supports the U.S. Constitution, “I think he’s reading the Constitution of the Soviets.” And from Mathews: “Chick Heileson is a John Birch conservative. He even called himself an extremist. I’m a mainstream conservative, who has a record.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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