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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sali opens campaign office – outside his district

BOISE – Idaho congressman Bill Sali has opened a new campaign office just upstairs from his congressional office in Boise – both of them in the 2nd Congressional District. Sali represents the 1st District. “It’s a convenient location, and it’s a centralized location where people can interact easier with the congressional office,” said Sali spokesman Wayne Hoffman. “It’s in downtown Boise. A lot of people come downtown to see the offices of their elected officials.”

Taxpayer donations favor Dems over Repubs

BOISE – Here’s a surprising development: The Idaho Election Campaign Fund, for which Idahoans have checked boxes on their state tax returns since 1975 if they want to donate a dollar to a political party of their choice or to a general political campaign fund, this year is giving more money to the Democrats than the Republicans. The checks, which were handed over to the parties in a ceremony this week, total $35,540 for the Democrats and $30,891 for the Republicans. The Libertarian Party collected $2,854 and the Constitution Party $2,144.

Luna says problems found, corrected

BOISE – A legislative audit has identified serious management problems in the office of state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, problems that Luna didn’t dispute and says now have been corrected. They ranged from improper accounting to sensitive personal information in teacher certification files being stored in unsecured boxes under employees’ desks. “They’ve taken care of that; they consider it closed, as do we,” said legislative audit division manager Don Berg.

Idaho Senate candidates file finance reports

BOISE – Candidates vying to replace Idaho Sen. Larry Craig are gearing up for a fight, with one bringing on two dozen campaign workers and another piling up a million-dollar war chest. A third candidate, independent Rex Rammell, who’s put in more than $250,000 of his own money and focused on piloting an advertising-emblazoned “Conservative Express” RV up and down the state, said, “I want to win – and it takes money.”

Risch will use contested ad again

BOISE – Idaho Lt. Gov. Jim Risch is standing by a controversial TV ad he aired in his successful primary race for a U.S. Senate seat and says he’ll run it again in the general election campaign. “The ad said I delivered the largest tax cut in the history of the state of Idaho. I said it then, I mean it now, and you’re going to hear it again in the election,” Risch declared.

Idaho banks doing better than most

Idaho’s top financial regulator says state-chartered banks and credit unions in Idaho are “safe and sound” at a time when large financial institutions elsewhere are experiencing significant problems related to mortgage defaults. “Idaho commercial banks and savings institutions continued to outperform the nation during the first quarter 2008 and reported higher levels of capital, higher profitability and lower nonperforming loans and net charge-offs than institutions nationwide,” state Department of Finance Director Gavin Gee announced.

Sali lags in fundraising race

BOISE – Freshman Idaho U.S. Rep. Bill Sali is being out-fundraised by his Democratic challenger and is having such serious problems with the federal campaign finance reporting system that he hasn’t filed his July 15 report and has filed nine amendments to earlier reports since June 1. “Our campaign manager has been on the phone with the FEC all morning working on this,” Sali spokesman Wayne Hoffman said Friday.

Primary winners set sights on Idaho’s general election

BOISE – Idaho Lt. Gov. Jim Risch kicked off his general-election campaign for Larry Craig's U.S. Senate seat Wednesday, saying Idahoans must vote for him so the state will have two votes in the Senate – because his Democratic opponent would just cancel out GOP Sen. Mike Crapo's votes. Larry LaRocco, the Democratic candidate and a former 1st District congressman, disagreed.

Bar surveys Idaho judicial candidates

BOISE – Voters typically have a difficult time finding out much about the competing candidates for the Idaho Supreme Court, but a new Idaho State Bar survey is trying to give them a comparison in advance of the May 27 election. Getting information on candidates is "difficult to do, given that judicial candidates have to be very careful about what they say – especially a Supreme Court justice – because they may rule on cases that have to do with issues that people want to know about," said Diane Minnick, executive director of the state bar.

Inmate on Idaho presidential ballot

BOISE - Three candidates will appear on the Democratic ticket for president in Idaho's May primary this year – the two front-runners, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and a federal prison inmate from Texas. "We got conned," said a somewhat embarrassed Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa. Keith Russell Judd, 49, who is serving time at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution and won't get out until 2013, qualified for the Idaho ballot by sending in a notarized form and paying the $1,000 fee. Thanks to a recent election law change that removed a requirement for collecting signatures, that was enough to put him on the ballot.

Lewis backs Grant in House race

BOISE – Rand Lewis, of Worley, has withdrawn from Idaho's 1st District congressional race and endorsed fellow Democrat Larry Grant. That sets up a race between Grant, of Fruitland, and Walt Minnick, of Boise, for the chance to challenge freshman GOP Rep. Bill Sali in November.

Judge hears arguments on closing GOP primary

BOISE – A federal judge appeared dubious Thursday of a group of dissident Idaho Republicans' attempt to force the closure of the state's GOP primary elections to anyone but registered Republicans. The party's leadership hasn't joined the suit and favors legislative changes rather than a lawsuit.

Walt Minnick joins race for Congress

BOISE – Boise businessman Walt Minnick, with iconic former Democratic Gov. Cecil Andrus by his side, announced in stops around Idaho's 1st District Wednesday that he's running for Congress, setting up a three-way Democratic primary race for the chance to challenge GOP Rep. Bill Sali. Minnick, a former timber products company CEO who took 40 percent of the vote against U.S. Sen. Larry Craig in 1996, told a crowd of cheering supporters in Boise, "I don't think there's been a time when people have been more concerned about the direction which this country is taking."