A Facebook dust-up over the weekend drew sharp comments from a Twin Falls lawmaker, Idaho’s first lady, and the Idaho Freedom Foundation, the Times-News reports today. A post from Rep. Stephen Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, in which he criticized the Idaho Freedom Foundation and accused the group of supporting “druggie candidates,” ignited the clash; it also prompted a video response from candidate Rocky Ferrenburg, who is running for Hartgen’s District 24 House seat against Hartgen’s wife, Linda Wright Hartgen, and has openly discussed his prior drug convictions throughout his campaign, writes Times-News reporter Gretel Kauffman.
In his original post Friday, Hartgen noted that Idaho had jumped to No. 2 in the country for future economic outlook in a survey by the American Legislative Exchange Council. “Makes you wonder, with performance like this, why some on the right like the secretive so called Freedom Foundation want to add right-wing laws to the state, such as drug legalization and dismanteling (sic) the states well regarded pension plan,” Hartgen wrote. “Alt-right IFF Breitbart candidates are preaching a drain the swamp platform for Boise, but really, its just an effort to gain power and push Idaho into the fringe-right camp,” he continued.
The post attracted comments from accounts linked to Wayne Hoffman, president of the IFF, Jay S. Waters III, a candidate for the Senate seat in District 24, and Lori Otter, wife of Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.
“[T]he only reason Idaho jumped to No. 2 is that the governor and the Legislature finally listened to our advice to dramatically cut taxes,” the Hoffman account wrote in response to the post. “You’re welcome. Damn good thing Idaho Freedom Foundation is around to make it happen.”
A Facebook account for Idaho’s first lady replied to the comment from the Hoffman account, writing: “Oh brother Wayne. [A]ren’t you a non profit that is not allowed to lobby policy? … trust me Wayne—there are a lot people looking into your nonprofit designation.” The Times-News’ full story is online here.