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TUESDAY, JULY 29, 2014, 2:36 P.M.

Huckleberries Talks To Nels Mitchell

Nels Mitchell, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, was featured at a Minimum Wage Rally at Riverstone Park Monday. With him are fellow Democrats Idaho House candidate Anne Nesse, center, and U.S. House candidate Shirley Ringo. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

  • Huckleberries: How do you gain traction as a Democrat in Republican Idaho when your opponent is considered the most conservative U.S. senator?
  • Nels Mitchell: People are fed up with what's going on in Washington. They're tired of the gridlock and the ideologues like my opponent doing stunts like shutting the government down. The people that I've talked to around Idaho want functioning government. And they want their U.S. senator to be part of the solution and not the problem.
  • Huckleberries: You were in town Monday at a minimum wage rally. Is that a popular idea in Idaho?
  • Mitchell: Raising the minimum wage to a living wage is popular in Idaho. There are over 175,000 people who would receive a raise if the federal minimum wage was raised from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour. That's more than 25 percent of the workers in Idaho.
  • Huckleberries: Are the Democrats in position to make gains as a result of GOP dysfunction in the state? Or will people simply keep voting straight ticket Republican?
  • Mitchell: We are in a position to make gains this year. The Democrats are unified, and we have a great slate of candidates. We are focused on representing the people in the middle. I'm a centrist. In Idaho over 55 percent have elected not to affiliate with the Republicans or the Democrats. That creates an opportunity in my race as well as other races.
  • Huckleberries: What do you think of Raul Labrador's announcement about Dan Popkey joining his staff?
  • Mitchell: I'm not surprised that Raul would ask Dan. But I am surprised that Dan would accept. Dan has had a distinguished career in Boise and is well respected by both Democrats and Republicans.
  • Huckleberries: Republican candidates love to tie Democrats to President Obama. How do you avoid that in a state that's so red?
  • Mitchell: Like a lot of other people in Idaho, I have been disappointed with some of the president's performance. At the same time, I will be going back to Washington and representing the interests of independent Idaho. I'm not receiving any support nor am I working with the president, Harry Reid or any of the Democratic leadership, in part because I want to be an independent voice for Idaho in Washington.
  • Also: You can read more about Nels Mitchell on his campaign Web site here.
  • Also: Mitchell responds to Risch fund-raising letter that referred to him as a Democratic agent here.

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D.F. Oliveria
Dave Oliveria writes the Huckleberries Online Blog for North Idaho readers and the Huckleberries print column.

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