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New Yorker runs for Idaho Senate again; also files in Alaska, Oregon

BOISE – A Brooklyn, N.Y., attorney who’s never been to Idaho is not only running for a U.S. Senate seat from the state for the second time, he’s also running for Senate seats in Alaska and Oregon.

“I’m just making myself available to the people of more than one state,” William Bryk said. “The voters have not yet taken advantage of the opportunity to retain my services, but one lives in hope.”

Bryk, 59, is one of two Democrats facing off for the chance to challenge Idaho GOP Sen. Jim Risch; the other, Nels Mitchell, is an Idaho attorney who announced early and is running a spirited campaign targeting one of Idaho’s longest-serving GOP politicians.

Bryk said he was watching closely from afar, and though Mitchell had announced he’d run, he still hadn’t filed midway into Idaho’s two-week candidate filing period in March. “I decided to throw my hat in the ring,” Bryk said. “Then the fellow showed up and filed, but it will do him no harm to have a primary.”

Mitchell filed for the office on March 10, four days before the end of the filing period.

The U.S. Constitution just requires a candidate to be a resident of the state they’re seeking to represent in the House or Senate as of Election Day, which this year is Nov. 4. Bryk, who says the closest he’s ever been to Idaho is Buffalo, N.Y., vows to move west if he wins Idaho’s Democratic primary, bringing his wife, books, computers and cats with him. “She’s up for it,” he said.

So, what if he were to win in more than one of the three states? “To be candid, I do not believe that will happen,” Bryk said. “If it did happen, I would probably have to sit down with the party leadership in the two states and make some fast calculations and pick whichever state … I would most likely be able to be of service to.”

Bryk said he believes in contested elections and thinks he’d make a good senator, from any state. He’s run for office numerous times but has never been elected.

Bryk is also among two Democratic challengers to first-term Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley this year, and is running in the Democratic primary against first-term Alaska Sen. Mark Begich.

He doesn’t campaign, beyond taking calls and filling out interest groups’ surveys, and raises no campaign funds.

Jim Weatherby, Boise State University professor emeritus and longtime Idaho political observer, said, “Perhaps if he continues this strategy, he will get his name as a footnote in some political almanac.”

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