Former Idaho Congressman Bill Sali, famous for introducing legislation in the U.S. House to suspend the law of gravity in a bid to highlight his opposition to the minimum wage, will pitch for tax-protesting Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, at a $25-a-head fundraiser in Coeur d'Alene this week, as Hart heads into a hard-fought four-way GOP primary next Tuesday in his bid for a fifth term in the Idaho House. The fundraiser, according to an ad placed on the Coeur d'Alene Press website by Hart's campaign and shown here, also will benefit GOP House candidate Ron Mendive of Coeur d'Alene, who faces fellow Republican Jeff Tyler of Post Falls on Tuesday for the open House seat formerly held by Bob Nonini.
Tyler is a founder of the Reagan Republicans and Pachyderm Club GOP groups, while Mendive is allied with the United Conservatives of North Idaho group, in an increasingly testy divide in Kootenai County's Republican party. That split has become so nasty that one side is attempting to hijack the other's name, Reagan Republicans, by filing legal documents, a move the RR's dubbed "identity theft." There's more info on that here and here.
Sali is no stranger to intra-party controversy himself. In 2006, then-GOP House Speaker Bruce Newcomb called Sali an "absolute idiot," and earlier, when now-Congressman Mike Simpson was speaker of the House and Sali was a member, Simpson threatened to throw Sali out of his 3rd-floor speaker's office window; Sali reported the threat to the House sergeant-at-arms. Sali served 16 years in the Idaho House and one term in the U.S. House before losing to a Democrat, Walt Minnick. This year, he hinted he might run for the state House again, but never filed.