After Sen. Bob Nonini’s comments in Senate debate last week that he’s now “embarrassed by my actions last May in something that you’re probably all aware of,” when he spent thousands to back primary challengers against six GOP incumbents, Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey tracked down all six to see if Nonini ever apologized. The answer: No. Sen. John Tippets, R-Montpelier, told Popkey that Nonini approached him privately at the June state GOP convention. "I received what I considered an apology," Tippets said. "Maybe he didn't use that word, but that's how I took it."
Asked if she’d like an apology, Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, told Popkey, “That's up to him. It’s his own conscience he has to live with. We're big people." Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, said she was grateful for Nonini’s kind words about Tippets during the Senate’s health insurance exchange debate. "It's obvious that it eats at him," said Keough, who serves with Nonini on the Transportation Committee. "He's made remarks off and on in committee. Never directly. Just side comments in front of other people about how he wants to move past it. I know it weighs heavy on his mind. I think the senator needs to build some bridges."
Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, another Nonini target, told Popkey, "I don't care where people spend their money. My disappointment is that I thought Bob and I were friends, and that's pretty hard on a friendship."
You can read Popkey’s full report here. Nonini wouldn’t comment for the article; that’s not surprising to me. After my coverage of Nonini’s campaign finance activity during the primary last spring, he told me at the beginning of this year’s legislative session that he doesn’t like my reporting and therefore won’t talk to me. Aside from a casual social comment, he’s not answered a single question since. He’s also refused to speak to several other Statehouse reporters when they posed questions about legislative issues.