Idaho Democrats are gathered for their state party convention today and tomorrow in Boise, while Idaho Republicans will gather for their state convention next Thursday through Saturday in Twin Falls. At today's Democratic confab, 1st District congressional candidate Jimmy Farris was the luncheon speaker, drawing an enthusiastic response from a crowd of about 100. Farris, a former NFL football player and Lewiston native, was wearing his Super Bowl ring, and led off by thanking his “team,” as he introduced his campaign staffers. Farris looks younger than his 34 years, and has an unmistakably athletic bearing, particularly when he doffed his jacket and worked the crowd.
“I've accomplished a lot and learned a lot and sacrificed a lot, and ultimately I'm running because I care a lot, I want to make a difference,” he said earnestly before his speech. “Don't let the young face fool ya.”
He shared stories from his NFL days, decried the current state of things in Idaho from school funding to unemployment to crumbling infrastructure to high numbers of uninsured, and said his experience has been rooted in “working with people from different backgrounds and being able to work together” to solve problems. He also painted freshman GOP Rep. Raul Labrador, the incumbent, as a promoter of “division and gridlock.” Said Farris, “That's what this campaign is all about. It's about bringing people together, not dividing them. It's about being part of a team, not a … one-man show.”
Farris acknowledged he has a “tough campaign” ahead of him, challenging a sitting congressman from a Republican state who's become a tea party favorite in the nation's capital. “I say here today it's time we put Congressman Raul Labrador on waivers,” Farris declared. “Let's give him a two-year head start on his run for governor.” Among those in the audience was former state Sen. Mary Lou Reed, D-Coeur d'Alene, who called Farris “refreshingly strong” and “a very smart guy.”