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North Idaho Republicans splinter as legislative races loom

Republicans in North Idaho have been splintering into increasingly bitterly divided factions, and some say it’s reached the point of dysfunction – and the cracks have to close if the aim is to get anything done, like bring in more jobs or improve schools. “We need everybody to get together,” said Patrick Whalen, who is running against state Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, in the May 20 GOP primary. “I don’t think we can continually split the party and succeed.” Now, an influential local group that had great success in the last election has endorsed challengers to five GOP incumbents in the primary, including Whalen over Nonini, and all sides are readying for battle. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

Werner Targets Mendive Seat

Terry Werner, who plans to retire as Post Falls' public services director Sept. 30, announced he will seek a seat in the Idaho House. Werner, a Republican, will seek the District 3 seat, a position currently held by Rep. Ron Mendive. The seat serves much of Kootenai County, including Post Falls, most of the Rathdrum area and south to Worley. “I've had an interest in running for the state Legislature for a number of years, dating back to when I served on the (Post Falls) City Council,” Werner said. “I haven't pursued it in the past because it hasn't fit into my schedule, but I've always had an interest in government.” Werner served on the City Council from 1985 to 1991. He has worked for the city for 22 years, working his way up from a meter reader to public services director/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Have you followed Rep. Mendive's work in the Idaho Legislature?

House leader says Mendive comment poor choice, ACLU commends him for attending event

House Majority Caucus Chairman John Vander Woude, R-Meridian, said freshman Rep. Ron Mendive, R-Coeur d’Alene, made a poor comparison when he linked prostitution to abortion, saying both are “a woman’s choice.” Said Vander Woude, “Rarely when a woman becomes a prostitute, is it because of a choice. The example, in my opinion, was a very poor choice.”

This incident marks the second time inside of a year in which an Idaho lawmaker has gained attention from comments he's made about abortion. Sen. Chuck Winder of Boise, the Senate assistant majority leader, made comments during the 2012 session in debate over a bill to require a woman to get an ultrasound before an abortion. “I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician with a rape issue, that that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage, or was it truly caused by a rape,” Winder told the Senate last March.

Winder later said he was misunderstood and never meant to cast doubt on the truthfulness of a woman's claim of rape.

Meanwhile, ACLU Executive Director Monica Hopkins said she was glad Mendive was among 15 or 20 state lawmakers who attended the ACLU’s breakfast event Wednesday morning where he made the comment; he was the first one there. The presentation covered an overview of the group, and then focused mostly on criminal justice reform. “The interesting thing about the ACLU is you may not agree with us on one issue, but a lot of times we can find common ground on other issues,” she said. “I actually commend him for coming to the breakfast and learning a little more about us.” You can read our full story here at spokesman.com.

Update: Abortion Flap Stuns Mendive

Freshman Rep. Ron Mendive, R-Coeur d’Alene, was surprised to learn that there’s a news story out about a question he asked this morning regarding abortion and prostitution – and that it’s going viral. He attended an ACLU breakfast presentation in the Capitol this morning, and when  it was opened up for questions and answers at the end, Mendive said his question was prompted by the group placing women’s reproductive rights among its high priorities. So he asked whether the ACLU supports prostitution along with abortion, because it’s also “a woman’s choice.” The Associated Press reported that there were “audible gasps” in the room at his question/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Betsy reports that Mendive was surprised to see his comments to the ACLU reps go viral today. Should he be?

Rep. Mendive: ‘I’ll stand up for right’

Freshman Rep. Ron Mendive, R-Coeur d’Alene, was surprised to learn that there’s a news story out about a question he asked this morning regarding abortion and prostitution – and that it’s going viral. He attended an ACLU breakfast presentation in the Capitol this morning, and when  it was opened up for questions and answers at the end, Mendive said his question was prompted by the group placing women’s reproductive rights among its high priorities. So he asked whether the ACLU supports prostitution along with abortion, because it’s also “a woman’s choice.” The Associated Press reported that there were “audible gasps” in the room at his question, and ACLU Executive Director Monica Hopkins responded that abortion rights are constitutionally protected, while prostitution is illegal; and that prostitution is not always a choice, as in human trafficking cases.

“Was there a reporter in the room?” Mendive asked when told about the story. “I am anti-abortion, so that’s why I brought up that question,” he said.

Mendive said, “Actually I grew up in Kellogg, and the reality is there used to be brothels in Wallace. That was a career choice – no one forced them into that.” He said he didn’t mean that he thought prostitution should be legal. “I think that there’s kind of a double standard,” he said. “With abortion there are two beating hearts, and prostitution, there’s just one. If a woman were going to make a choice to be a prostitute, that’s her decision as to what to do with her body.”

He said in his view, it’s comparable to someone deciding to use illegal drugs. “I don’t support that either,” he said. “Those were just examples.”

Mendive said he didn’t feel like his question was answered. “She changed the topic,” he said of Hopkins, who noted that anti-human trafficking legislation may be introduced this year.  “Human trafficking is a real serious problem in this country,” Mendive said.

Asked about making the news like this when he’s just been serving in the Legislature for a week and a half, Mendive said, “I guess that’s life. There’s right and there’s wrong. I’ll stand up for right.” You can read the full story here at spokesman.com.

Sali To Stump For Phil Hart

Former congressman Bill Sali's appearance in North Idaho on behalf of Rep. Phil Hart and District 3 challenger Ron Mendive is being advertised at the Coeur d'Alene Press Online.

Former Idaho Congressman Bill Sali, famous for introducing legislation in the U.S. House to suspend the law of gravity in a bid to highlight his opposition to the minimum wage, will pitch for tax-protesting Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, at a $25-a-head fundraiser in Coeur d'Alene this week, as Hart heads into a hard-fought four-way GOP primary next Tuesday in his bid for a fifth term in the Idaho House. The fundraiser, according to an ad placed on the Coeur d'Alene Press website by Hart's campaign and shown here, also will benefit GOP House candidate Ron Mendive of Coeur d'Alene, who faces fellow Republican Jeff Tyler of Post Falls on Tuesday for the open House seat formerly held by Bob Nonini/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Is Sali respected enough in Far Right circles to win support for Hart?


Read more here: http://voices.idahostatesman.com/2012/05/08/krichert/idaho_politics_bill_sali_surfaces_will_stump_phil_hart#storylink=twt#storylink=cpy

3rd R Files For Nonini’s House Seat

Ron Mendive of 3732 Dusty Lane, Coeur d'Alene, has become the third Republican to file for the House District 3A seat to be vacated by Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, who will seek the open seat being vacated by Sen. Jim Hammond. Fred Meckel of Rathdrum and Jeff Tyler of Coeur d'Alene have also filed for the House District 3A seat. No Democrats have filed for the position. Republicans Nonini and incumbent House District 3B incumbent Frank Henderson are now unopposed.