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Senate seat attracts 13 candidates

Sat., March 22, 2008

Hal Styles Jr. has never been to Idaho, but he’d like to be the state’s next U.S. senator.

Styles noted that current Idaho Sen. Larry Craig is leaving office, “as well he should,” and said, “Idaho being one of the 10 best places to live and heavily Republican, which is what I am, I thought, well, this particular man can no longer serve the constituents well, and I can. So I threw my hat in the ring.”

Styles was one of 13 candidates to file for the post by Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline, including eight Republicans. Among the hopefuls: Idaho Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, a Republican; former U.S. Rep. Larry LaRocco, a Democrat; Coeur d’Alene businessman Richard Phenneger, a Republican; and Pro-Life, an independent who legally changed his name from Marvin Richardson.

Styles said he’s planning to move to Idaho, probably in about six weeks, though he’s long been a resident of Southern California, where he’s a real estate broker, flight instructor and retired securities broker. By law, Senate candidates are required only to reside in the state on the date of the November election.

Asked if he’s been to Idaho, Styles said, “In a word, no. However, I have read enormous quantities about it, and so I know that it is a beautiful state with more high mountains (and) … beautiful people. It’s heavily Republican, and it’s my kind of state.”

Styles, who’s been an unsuccessful GOP candidate for Congress and for the California State Board of Equalization, said he first thought of moving to the Gem State about a year ago when he read that it was ranked among the 10 best places to live. He now lives in Desert Hot Springs, near Palm Springs.

The woes of Idaho’s senior senator – Craig said in September he’d resign after news surfaced that he’d pleaded guilty in an airport restroom sex sting, but then changed his mind and decided to serve out his term before retiring – clinched the decision for Styles.

He said he stands for lower taxes, less government, strong defense, “traditional American virtues of family,” patriotism and Ronald Reagan-style Republicanism. “You put all those together with the love that I have for the gorgeous state of Idaho which I’ve read about for years and years and years, and I will make, without a doubt, the most outstanding senator that Idaho has ever had or will have,” Styles declared.

Other candidates in the race:

Republicans: Risch; Phenneger; Fred M. Adams, of Idaho Falls; William E. Hunter III, of Rexburg; Iraq veteran Scott A. Syme, of Wilder; Brian E. Hefner, of Sweet; and Neal Thompson, of McCall.

Democrats: LaRocco, the former two-term 1st District congressman; and David J. Archuleta, of Fort Hall.

Libertarian: Kent A. Marmon, of Caldwell.

Independents: Pro-Life, formerly known as Marvin Richardson, an organic strawberry farmer from near Emmett; and Rex Rammell, a former elk rancher from Rexburg.


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