Latest from The Spokesman-Review
North Idaho's freshman GOP congressman Raul Labrador has geared up his re-election campaign, according to the latest campaign finance reports, while his prospective opponents haven't. Labrador's pulling in PAC money and donations from prominent Idahoans, while his little-known GOP primary opponent hasn't raised a penny; nor has the Libertarian, the Independent, or one of the two Democratic hopefuls, the reports show.
The exception: Democrat Jimmy Farris, a former professional football player and Lewiston native, who's raised $25,904 since he entered the race in October, including $13,909 in the first three months of 2012. Farris' primary opponent, former Boise physician Cynthia Clinkingbeard, didn't file a campaign finance report; she was arrested for aggravated assault last month after pulling a gun on employees at a Staples store.
Meanwhile, Labrador has raised a total of $461,311 since the start of 2011, including $260,480 from individuals and $198,175 from PACs; he's spent $300,967 and has $200,339 cash on hand for the upcoming campaign; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Idaho GOP Congressman Raul Labrador is joining a group of colleagues today for “Conversations with Conservatives,” an on-the-record Q-and-A with reporters and bloggers featuring a dozen GOP congress members. Labrador and Reps. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, and Jeff Landry, R-Louisiana, are chairing the new monthly confab, which will feature different members each month along with the three. Billed as a Tax Day discussion, today's session started off with a question about a highway funding bill; you can watch live here.
Asked if any of the members are excited about the candidacy of Mitt Romney, who was endorsed by House Speaker John Boehner today, Labrador said, “I am actually excited. I have not endorsed any candidate. I'm excited that the process is over, I'm excited that we have potentially a nominee who is going to be taking it to Obama. … We are going to be able to contrast the visions between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. … I think it's time for conservatives to get behind the nominee. It's time for conservatives to start getting excited.”
That discussion was interrupted online by a Harley-Davidson commercial, and the online view is out of focus, but members said they welcome the forum. Labrador said of Romney, “He needs to reach out to every one of us who's sitting at this table, and to all the other conservative leaders throughout the United States to make sure he's not just speaking to a few select groups, that he's speaking to the grass roots … all the people who were passionate in the 2010 election. … because that's how he's going to win. … We can help him with that, but he needs to reach out.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said, “I'm not as excited as I am desperate.” He cited gas prices, saying, “It's a desperate situation. … People in America, conservatives that I know, are very desperate to replace this president.” Ellen Carmichael, Labrador's spokeswoman, reports that there's a standing-room only crowd for today's forum in the visitors' center of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Idaho Democrats will caucus on Saturday morning to select their presidential delegates, and they're inviting folks to join them at the gatherings in each Idaho county. At locations from Mugsy's Tavern in Bonners Ferry to the Morrison Center in Boise, Dems will gather at 10 a.m. local time - meaning the doors will close then, so those who want to participate should arrive before that hour; you can read my full story here in today's Spokesman-Review.
“People who turn out are people that are excited to be Democrats, they're excited to have a Democratic president to support, and this is their chance to do it,” said state party spokesman Dean Ferguson. “I'd expect quite a bit of enthusiasm.” Ada County Democratic Chair Colleen Fellows said, “This will be an exciting up-beat rally atmosphere.”
Any qualified voter who lives in the county and will be 18 by the November election can participate; participants also must sign a pledge form stating that they're a member of the Democratic Party and declaring either support for President Obama or that they're uncommitted. Many of the caucuses around the state, including those in Ada and Kootenai counties, will include the showing of the new Obama documentary, “The Road We Have Traveled.”
Four years ago, roughly 22,000 participated in Idaho's Democratic presidential caucuses and threw the state's support to Barack Obama over rival Hillary Clinton by a two-thirds margin; this time, President Obama is unopposed. Sally Boynton Brown, state party executive director, said, “Lack of competition means these events will not offer the drama or draw the crowds of 2008, but the caucuses are important gatherings for party members who want a say in the party's state and national platforms.” For more information, go to idahodems.org.
Whoops - Salt Lake Tribune columnist Paul Rolly reports that Newt Gingrich's check for the $500 filing fee for the June 26 Utah presidential primary election bounced, and he may not be on the ballot as a result. “Utah Elections Director Mark Thomas said a designated agent for the Gingrich campaign brought the filing papers and a check for $500 in March, but the state was notified by the bank that the check had bounced,” Rolly reports. “He said the office has tried to contact the Gingrich campaign through the telephone number and email provided on the application, but has not received a response. Recently, the state sent a certified letter to the campaign, stating that if the fee isn’t paid by April 20, Gingrich will be disqualified and will not be on the ballot.” You can read his full column here.
Former Spokane Mayor Mary Verner won't challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers this year.
Verner emailed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Jan. 30 revealing her decision not to run, said Dwight Pelz, chairman of the Washington State Democratic Party.
Verner had talked to Democratic officials late last year and early this year about a possible run.
McMorris Rodgers has used a possible a Verner challenge in fund-raising letters.
“Former Spokane Mayor Mary Verner is considering a run against me, too. My former aide, David Condon, defeated her last November, so we should expect she'll pull no punches in trying to defeat me also,” McMorris Rodgers' letter from March 14 says.
(That's a pretty interesting analysis of Verner's mayoral campaign, which some might argue barely lifted a finger in response to Condon's effective campaign ads.)
Verner's decision about Congress isn't surprising. A Democratic candidate for Congress in eastern Washington would have to win big in the city of Spokane in order to win. Given that she lost a city-wide election so recently, Democratic leaders weren't eager about her candidacy and have lined up mostly behind Rich Cowan, the founder of North by Northwest, a local film production company.
Asked in an email about McMorris Rodgers' fund-raising letter and if she might run for office this fall, Verner said that she is “keeping her options open.”
Of course, Verner could be referring to other offices, such as county commission. No Democrat has announced for Spokane County Commission District 2 (Mark Richard's district), and that's where Verner lives.
The campaign to extend two taxes to pay for the expansion of the Spokane Convention Center and Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena has pulled a TV ad featuring Spokane City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin.
Citizens for Jobs Now has developed a series of commercials each featuring two people who often represent competing interests, including messages with a Democrat and Republican and another with a union member and a business owner. In each ad each spokesperson says that despite their usual differences they support Measure 1, the Spokane Public Facilities District tax plan that pays for the Convention Center and arena expansions.
Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin confirmed this evening that she will run against state Senate Democratic Majority Leader Lisa Brown.
She plans to make her official announcement at a press conference on Tuesday.
McLaughlin has been on the record as considering a run against Brown for months.
“I just had to make sure that I felt like there was enough suport becasue we know it's not going to be an easy run,” McLaughlin said during a break at tonight's City Council meeting at the East Central Community Center.
McLaughlin has said for more than a year that she is interested in running for the Legislature. She is a Republican in Eastern Washington's only Democratic-leaning legislative district. But she won a second term on City Council in 2009 in a landslide, winning even her counicl district's most Democratic districts.
Idaho Statesman reporter Patrick Orr has a full story today on Cynthia Clinkingbeard, the 1st District congressional candidate who was arrested over the weekend after threatening Staples employees with a 9mm handgun. The former physician, whose medical license was revoked in 2005, was charged with three felony counts of aggravated assault and one count of use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime, Orr reports; she also was suspended from her college teaching post for “erratic behavior.”
Here's the thing: This is the second time in 16 years that a candidate who was also a physician has filed for Idaho's 1st District congressional seat and then had a public meltdown; the last one, back in 1996, was running against Helen Chenoweth in the GOP primary. I was on the reporter panel at KTVB's “Viewpoint” program when that candidate, William Levinger, offered me $5,000 in hundred-dollar bills for an on-camera kiss (I declined); later in the interview, after I'd left the studio, he removed his clothes, refused to leave and was arrested for trespassing.
Back then, that prompted me to look up some other odd candidate behavior over the years. Some examples: When Republican Roger Fairchild announced his bid for governor back in 1990, his big news conference featured his ex-wife shouting out allegations of wife-beating and cocaine abuse. In 1996, a Democrat announced for Latah County Sheriff from inside the county jail, where he was serving time on a misdemeanor assault charge. Julius E. Beyer Sr., who had a long arrest record, said he was fed up with local law enforcement.
Jim Sorrell, a candidate for mayor of Boise in 1985, didn't halt his political bid after he was accused of exposing himself. Instead, he reportedly contacted the North End Neighborhood Association and asked to be included in a candidate forum, saying he needed more exposure.
But few can match Thomas Bennett, who ran for Congress in 1875. He actually went to Washington and served in Congress for nearly two years before the folks back in Boise discovered he hadn't really been elected. As governor of Idaho, he had been in charge of tallying the votes.
Boise Police arrested Cynthia Clinkingbeard, 58, Boise - a Democratic candidate for Congress in the 1st District - for aggravated assault on Friday night, after she entered a store and threatened workers there with a gun, the Idaho Statesman reports. Clinkingbeard, a physician whose medical license was revoked in 2005, filed last week to run against former professional football player and Lewiston native Jimmy Farris in the Democratic primary for a chance to take on GOP 1st District Congressman Raul Labrador. You can read the Statesman's full report here.
OLYMPIA — Jay Inslee’s not-so-timely departure from Congress could result in a special election in Western Washington. Special, the way the Church Lady used to say the word on “Saturday Night Live.”
The Secretary of State’s office is exploring the possibility of a special election this fall to fill the remainder of Inslee’s term in Washington’s 1st Congressional District. But there's a catch…
Democrats will give voters a choice in at least one race in the 6th Legislative District.
Former state Democratic state Rep. Dennis Dellwo filed paperwork with the state Public Disclosure Commission last month announcing a bid to challenge Republican state Rep. John Ahern.
Democrats had success in the 6th District, which surrounds central Spokane on the south, west and north, in 2006 and 2008. But they lost all three seats in 2010 and redistricting may have shifted the district more toward the GOP camp.
Dellwo, 66, served 13 years in the Legislature serving the 3rd District. He was first elected in 1982. He left in 1996 to take a position on the Eastern Washington Growth Management Hearings Board. He said he moved into the 6th District a three years ago and lives near Polly Judd Park on the South Hill.
Here's a link to the final list of candidates filing today, which was delayed this evening because of a last-minut crush of filings. It includes some surprises, from Sen. Nicole LeFavour of Boise running for Congress in the 2nd District, to a lack of any filing from former Congressman Bill Sali, who had hinted earlier he'd seek an open House seat…
In North Idaho legislative races, there are lots of candidates running, including four Republicans and one Democrat running against Rep. Phil Hart alone. You can read my story here at spokesman.com on North Idaho legislative filings, which also include a comeback try from former Sen. Mike Jorgensen, who'll challenge GOP Sen. Steve Vick of Dalton Gardens.
State Senator Steve Vick, a Dalton Gardens resident and Home Renovation Contractor, will seek re-election to the Idaho State Senate in the new District 2. “It has been a great privilege to serve my friends and neighbors in North Idaho” said Vick. “I want to continue to be a strong conservative voice in the Idaho Senate.” Senator Vick is in his first term and currently represents District 3, northern Kootenai County. Vick will seek re-election in a new District 2, which includes much of his old district along with all of Kootenai County east of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Vick serves on the Agricultural Affairs Committee and the Health and Welfare Committee. He also serves on the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee as its Vice-Chair, a high honor for a freshman legislator/News release from Steve Vick. More here.
Question: Do you consider state Sen. Steve Vick as extreme in his politics as Legislative District 2 mates Reps. Phil Hart and Vito Barbieri?
When all the tallying was done last night, Mitt Romney's sweep in Idaho's first GOP presidential caucus left him with all 32 delegates after winning 31 of Idaho's 44 counties. Seven counties went to Rick Santorum - Kootenai, Benewah, Clearwater, Shoshone, Owyhee, Lewis and Washington. Six went to Ron Paul: Nez Perce, Latah, Camas, Idaho, Bonner and Boundary. Click below to read the Idaho GOP's news release about the results.
Mitt Romney has taken Ada County with 52 percent, to 23 percent for Rick Santorum, 22 percent for Ron Paul and 4 percent for Newt Gingrich. With 34 of the 44 counties reporting, that means Romney now has enough to wrap up the win in Idaho and secure all 32 of Idaho's delegates to the national GOP nominating convention. Ron Paul won Boundary, Camas and Latah counties, and Rick Santorum took Lewis County, but even if Paul or Santorum does well in the remaining 10 counties, neither can surmount Romney's lead. They're still caucusing in Kootenai, Benewah, Bonner, Canyon, Clearwater, Gem, Idaho, Shoshone, Owyhee and Nez Perce counties.
The first North Idaho county's GOP caucus results to come in are from Boundary County, where Ron Paul won. Here are the numbers:
Official caucus results from the Idaho GOP now show 22 of Idaho's 44 counties reporting, with 21 of those going to Mitt Romney, and one, Lewis County, going to Rick Santorum - but the results there were just 44 for Santorum, 25 for Romney, and zero for Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich, so the numbers are tiny. Here's a link to the GOP's results; see the Spokesman-Review's statewide results map here.
Now 12 Idaho counties have reported their GOP caucus results, and Mitt Romney remains way ahead with 76 percent, but still, all the counties are in southern and southeastern Idaho; Bannock County, population 83,000, is the largest reporting so far. Ada County, by contrast, has 392,000 people, Canyon County has 189,000, and Kootenai County has 138,000. You can see our county-by-county results map here.
The Spokesman-Review's Election Center is posting Idaho's county-by-county GOP caucus results as they come in on a map of the state; a look at it now shows that with 16 percent of the tally in, from seven counties, Mitt Romney is way ahead with 77.7 percent. But all the counties reporting are in southeastern or southern Idaho; there are no results yet from North Idaho. You can check out the map here.
Voting in the Idaho Republican presidential caucus has started in some parts of Idaho, including the first round in Canyon County and other small southern Idaho counties, reports AP reporter John Miller; click below for his full report. In Ada County, organizers closed the doors of Taco Bell Arena about 30 minutes after the 7 p.m. deadline to make sure hundreds still waiting in lines could get inside and cast their secret ballots, Miller reported; “If you're in line by 7, you'll get in,” GOP official Rod Beck said.
For the first time in decades, Idaho will have a chance to influence a Republican presidential campaign. The Idaho Republican Party has organized caucuses in all 44 counties; current crowd estimates are 4,500 in Bonneville County, and 2,500 in Twin Falls County, according to the Associated Press, and 9,050 in Ada County, according to the Boise Police Department.
North Idaho legislators have been grousing that they're disenfranchised - even though the Legislature wrapped up early today and will start late tomorrow, it would've taken them a day and a half to fly home and back for their county GOP presidential caucuses, and most didn't. Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, is taking in the Ada County caucus tonight, and he just tweeted this photo with the message, “History in the making. I've already been threatened by Secretary Ysursa that if I vote, I'm 'off the ballot!'”
While northern lawmakers can take in the local caucuses just for fun, they can't participate - because their voter registration is in their home counties, from which they're elected.
Big crowds are being reported tonight at GOP presidential caucuses in Ada, Canyon, and Twin Falls counties, as Idaho's first GOP presidential caucuses kick off tonight in all 44 counties. Meanwhile, those rumors that Ron Paul might show up in Ada and/or Canyon counties have proven false; though Paul campaigned in Nampa at noon today and made three Idaho stops yesterday, he's in Fargo, N.D. tonight.
Can Ron Paul win Idaho in tonight's first ever Idaho GOP presidential caucuses? Marc Johnson's “The Johnson Post” takes a look at the question today, writing that despite the endorsement of Mitt Romney by much of Idaho's GOP establishment, “The insurgent wing of the Idaho GOP, the group that has come to dominate a good deal of the party’s business, is entirely capable of sending Romney and his Idaho supporters a big message.” Johnson writes, “We’ll see if they do. It may be worth noting that while Paul was drawing 1,300 up the road in Sandpoint (yesterday), Gov. Butch Otter, a Romney surrogate, was speaking to a crowd of 100 in Coeur d’Alene.” You can read Johnson's full post here.
GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul drew a crowd of 1,200 supporters to a noon rally at the Bonner County Fairgrounds in Sandpoint today, the AP reports, a crowd the campaign called “massive;” this AP photo shows Paul addressing the crowd. The Boise Weekly has a report here from Zach Hagadone on the event and Paul's appeal in North Idaho.
The rally comes as Idaho's Super Tuesday GOP presidential caucus approaches tomorrow night; at 7 p.m. local time (and 6 p.m. in a few), in every one of the state's 44 counties, Republicans will gather at local caucuses to decide which GOP candidate the state should support for the presidential nomination. The first-time event has drawn every major contender for the nomination to campaign in Idaho in the past two weeks; Paul also plans a 3 p.m. rally today at the Kibbie Dome at the University of Idaho in Moscow; a 7 p.m. rally tonight at the Civil Auditorium of Idaho Falls; and a noon rally tomorrow at the Nampa Civic Center. Other major candidates campaigning in Idaho have included Mitt Romney, who has the endorsement of most of Idaho's top GOP elected officials; Rick Santorum, who held enthusiastic rallies in Boise and Coeur d'Alene; and Newt Gingrich, who campaigned in North Idaho.
“All four candidates have been campaigning hard in Idaho and have campaign staff on the ground and have personally visited the state,” said Idaho GOP executive director Jonathan Parker. “And as far as anyone can remember, that's a first.”
In the past, Idaho Democrats have held presidential nominating caucuses, but Idaho Republicans made their picks in the May primary - by which time the contest generally was all but over. This year's move up to Super Tuesday, when 10 states are having GOP caucuses or primaries, has upped the ante, with 32 Idaho delegates to the GOP nominating convention at stake.
Idaho may be Paul's best bet to win a state; despite Romney's high-profile Idaho GOP support, Paul won the straw poll the party held on Jan. 6, when 399 party members paid $30 each to cast ballots for the presidential candidate of their choice. “He's clearly putting all his eggs in Idaho's basket,” Parker said. “He's advertising, he's done mail, he's been here more than anybody else.” There are even rumors that Paul will personally attend the Ada County and/or Canyon County caucuses tomorrow night, though there's no confirmation of that.
There's lots of info about the GOP caucus at the party's caucus website here, including information about each county's plans. Ada County's caucus will be at the Taco Bell Arena at BSU, where doors will open at 4 p.m.; Canyon County's will be at the Idaho Center, where doors open at 4:30. Kootenai County has 10 locations, with doors opening at 5 p.m.
About 1,000 people turned out to hear Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul on Friday at the Spokane Convention Center. He hit on many of the same things he did two weeks ago at a rally in the same location. But this time he also talked about revelations this week that two former United States senators believe that Saudi Arabia may have had involvement in the 9/11 attacks. He talked about that again in a press conference after his speech. He also talked about his campaign strategy and Super Tuesday. You can hear most of the press conference in the link above.
PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas speaks at a rally in Spokane on Friday. (AP Photo/Jed Conklin)
One hundred candidates have now filed to run for the Legislature; you can see the latest list here; it'll be updated again mid-day today and at the end of the day. Among the latest: Rep. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, filed to run for the Senate; Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, filed for re-election, defending his seat against a challenge from his predecessor Gary Schroeder's son Barrett; and the first official race between two incumbents is on: Sens. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, and Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, will face off in the new District 23.
Two GOP presidential candidates who already held events in the Inland Northwest this month are headed back, Spokane County GOP Chairman Matthew Pederson announced today.
Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum will hold a rally at noon Thursday at New Life Assembly Church, 10920 E. Sprague Ave.
Ron Paul will make his second appearance this campaign season at the Spokane Convention Center. He'll hold a rally there at noon Friday.
Santorum spoke earlier this month in Coeur d'Alene but has since mostly focused on Michigan where he hopes to pull off an upset in that state's primary today.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich spoke in Spokane last week. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney hasn't visited the area, though his son spoke to supporters in Spokane Valley last week.
Washington holds its GOP caucuses on Saturday. Idaho holds its caucuses on March 6, Super Tuesday.
Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, has decided not to run for another term, after serving two terms in the Senate and two in the House. “The job that I've had, I think, often is just speaking up for those who are about to lose, the side that's going to go down,” she said. “I think your heart can only take that for so long.”
LeFavour, 48, a teacher and a writer, is the Legislature's only open gay member. She's been an outspoken advocate of legislation to expand the Idaho Human Rights Act to cover discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; that legislation has seen growing support, but lawmakers have never granted it a hearing. She serves on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee.
She said, “My biggest worry is letting a lot of people down.” Click below to read her full announcement.
Josh Romney, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s son, spoke to about 75 people at CenterPlace in Spokane Valley on Tuesday.
Romney, 36, is the third of Romney’s five sons. He’s a real estate investor who lives in Salt Lake City.
He said his dad will campaign on March 1 in Bellevue and a location that hasn’t been finalized in Eastern Washington. He downplayed the recent surge in polls experienced by Santorum.
“We feel really good about how things are going. There’s no primary process that is easy or predictable,” he said. “We’re just making sure that people understand our message, our vision for this country and where my dad would take us.”
Josh Romney addressed concerns about his dad’s health care plan in Massachusetts, which he called “a state solution to a state problem.” He also stressed that his dad is “firmly pro-life,” and painted him as an outsider with important business experience.
“My dad’s the one guy who has never worked one day in Washington D.C.”
GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich will hold a town hall meeting in Coeur d'Alene on Thursday night, the Idaho Republican Party announced today. The event is set for 7:30pm at the Coeur d’Alene Inn, said Idaho GOP executive director Jonathan Parker. The former speaker of the U.S. House also will hold a private fundraiser at a Harrison home on Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m., Parker said. Gingrich's visit marks the fourth major GOP presidential candidate to campaign in Idaho in less than two weeks.
“It's pretty exciting,” Parker said. “It's one of the primary reasons we went to the caucus system, one, to be relevant and actually have a say in who our nominee would be, but No. 2, to bring presidential candidates to Idaho to discuss issues important to Idahoans and to get them here to court our vote.”
Last week, GOP candidates Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum all campaigned in Idaho, and Paul and Santorum campaigned in North Idaho along with Boise rallies.