The Reform Party of Idaho has endorsed Tony Paquin for the Republican nomination in Idaho’s 1st Congressional District, attacking incumbent Rep. Helen Chenoweth as ineffective and an embarrassment to the state.
Chairman Gary Allen said Paquin represents the things the Reform Party stands for.
“Helen Chenoweth is a pleasant lady with a good record on reform issues,” Allen told a news conference on the Statehouse steps on Tuesday. But he said talk is not enough; problems must be faced and solved and Paquin has a good approach.
“Helen Chenoweth has said wild and wacky things and always will,” Allen said. “The wacky things she says hurt Idaho.”
Chenoweth representatives disputed Allen’s claim that Chenoweth has accomplished nothing in her three years in Congress.
Press secretary Chad Hyslop said the fact that Chenoweth has been appointed chairman of a natural resources subcommittee indicates her peers feel she is effective.
As to Allen’s statements about Chenoweth’s “wild and wacky” statements, Hyslop said, “She puts her foot in her mouth but she has a lot of help doing it.” He declined to elaborate.
Allen also charged that Chenoweth has become much more dependent on campaign contributions from special interest groups during her two terms. He said in the 1993-94 campaign cycle, she received just 20 percent of her contributions from political action committees but won 80 percent of her donations from special interest groups in the 1995-96 election cycle.
But records on file at the secretary of state’s office don’t reflect that.
They show Chenoweth received $96,327 from political action committees in 1995 and $280,146 in 1996 for a total of $376,473. That’s 36.2 percent of the record $1.03 million Chenoweth spent to defeat Democrat Dan Williams to win her second term last November.
Paquin repeated Allen’s statements that Chenoweth is not effectively meeting the state’s challenges. “The organization of the Idaho Reform Party will be very helpful,” he said.
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