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Eye On Boise

When political debates also include comic relief…

Republican candidates for Congress in Idaho’s 1st District react after their debate ended at the Idaho Public Television studio on April 27, 2018; from left are Luke Malek, David Leroy, Michael Snyder, Russ Fulcher, and Christy Perry. (Betsy Z. Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
Republican candidates for Congress in Idaho’s 1st District react after their debate ended at the Idaho Public Television studio on April 27, 2018; from left are Luke Malek, David Leroy, Michael Snyder, Russ Fulcher, and Christy Perry. (Betsy Z. Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

When six GOP candidates for Idaho’s open 1st District congressional seat faced off in the “Idaho Debates” last week, much of the fireworks – and the humor – came in the closing statements; you can read my full column here from Sunday’s Spokesman-Review.

First, Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa, lit into rivals Russ Fulcher and David Leroy. She joked that Fulcher’s signs, on which he’d taped over “governor,” the office for which he first filed this year, to switch to “Congress,” had started peeling, leaving him running for “gov-gress.” “He didn’t even want to run for this seat – he was running for governor,” she declared. “Well, then Labrador and some special interest groups came in and wouldn’t allow him to do that, so he folded.”

Perry then said of Leroy, “He’s had a distinguished career here in the state of Idaho, but a long time ago. What he didn’t tell you, though, was that the voters rejected him back in ’86 when he lost to a Democrat, and then again in ’94 when he lost to a strong conservative Republican woman from this district. So he’s kinda 0-for-2, and this is his last breath.”

Fulcher, who was up next, prefaced his statement with, “Thank you, Rep. Perry, for the incorrect and inaccurate history lesson, but the short answer is it’s called servant leadership.”

Leroy had this to say at the beginning of his statement, followed by a dramatic pause: “With my last breath…” The studio audience, cautioned to stay silent, laughed anyway.

Leroy fired back, “With all due respect, the experience Washington needs right now is a little gray hair, a lot of good judgment and perhaps a touch of statesmanship.”

Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, the next one to speak, is bald, sporting a shaved head and beard. “Dave, I don’t think Washington needs more hair,” he said to laughter as he opened his statement.

Meanwhile, candidate Michael Snyder used his closing statement to declare that the race is really just between him and Fulcher – according to “people all over social media.”

Candidate Alex Gallegos stayed out of the fray, instead focusing on how people have told him that as a first-time candidate, he faces an “impossible challenge.” “The people that told me that must not be from Idaho, because Idahoans thrive on challenges,” he said.



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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