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Eye On Boise

Farris on narrow primary win: ‘I’ve always been better in the 2nd half anyways’

Idaho Democratic 1st District congressional candidate Jimmy Farris, whose 53%-47% win over Cynthia Clinkingbeard in the primary was something of a stunner, given that Farris was the party's anointed choice and Clinkingbeard didn't campaign, after an arrest for pulling a gun on employees at a Staples store, had these thoughts when asked today when asked about the unexpectedly close margin:

“I think, ultimately, for me, I learned a lesson: You can't take anything for granted,” Farris said. “We made a conscious decision not to campaign against her. I didn't want to highlight any of the issues that she was having or anything that was happening with her. We chose not to debate or do anything that would really put her situation kind of in the public or highlight it more than it already was. So I think … it was a mistake on our part, not to really actively campaign as if there was a primary. I chose to try to protect her privacy as much as possible.” Clinkingbeard, a former physician, suffers from mental illness.

Farris is a first-time candidate who's a former NFL football player and a native of Lewiston. He said he didn't do “any real campaigning in the northern part of the state especially” during the primary campaign. Clinkingbeard won four of the five northernmost counties in the Idaho Panhandle: Benewah, Bonner, Boundary and Kootenai. She also edged Farris in Canyon and Payette counties.

Farris said he's heard speculation about crossover voting and other factors, but doesn't want to weigh in on that without more analysis. “Lesson learned, chalk it up,” he said. “I've always been better in the second half anyways, so, made some halftime adjustments, we're moving forward focusing on Congressman Labrador.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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