The Walt Minnick for Congress campaign debuted this hard-hitting ad against Bill Sali earlier this week. Predictably, the Sali campaign called foul. But as its lead story last night, KTVB in Boise fact-checked the ad and found it to be 100 percent accurate. It's too bad that, at the end of its piece, KTVB noted a poll showing Sali ahead of Minnick - but not the one that has Minnick ahead.
There are plenty more stories on the 1st CD race on Minnick's campaign blog.
Idaho Democratic Party executive director Jim Hansen reminds us all at the state party website that the state Republican Party is on record as wanting to abolish the Federal Reserve. A snip: There are few people alive who remember the 1929 stock market crash and the devastating depression that followed. If Idaho Republicans got their way, a crash of similar or greater impact would have happened this month.
It is clear that years of irresponsible lending fueled by Republican economic deregulation policies has accelerated into a dizzying series of near-disasters in the global economy. To put on the brakes and prevent the economy from completely derailing, our government must turn to a tool that Franklin D. Roosevelt created during the Depression: The Federal Reserve.
Read it all here. Jim raises an interesting question: Do Bill Sali, Jim Risch, Mike Simpson, Mike Crapo, Larry Craig, Butch Otter, and other Idaho Republicans actually stand behind this plank in the state GOP platform? Also, isn't it interesting how 1st CD candidate Bill Sali lashed out against the financial market bailout package before he knew anything about it - and now he's having to promise he'll keep an open mind? In complex times like this, we need leaders who think before they talk.
Update 9/24/08: Check out what Kos pointed out Tuesday afternoon (h/t Jill) ... this passage from the Republican Party Platform adopted mere weeks ago:
We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself.
I can only imagine the moral confusion that free-market zealots are experiencing this week, as they realize that their black-and-white positions don't work in the modern world.
There was a lot of head-scratching last Friday night when Daily Kos released a poll showing Bill Sali an improbable 11 points ahead of Walt Minnick. Sure, Sali is an incumbent in a traditionally GOP district. He's also one of the most extreme and least effective legislators in Congress, a man who can't get his FEC filings straight, and someone who barely won his seat last time around.
Well, the Minnick campaign has released its own internal poll (by the respected Harstad Strategic Research) showing that Minnick is, in fact, running about 5 points ahead of Sali (53 percent to 48 percent 43 to 38 percent) and that Sali is hugely unpopular among even Republican voters. The survey was taken among 405 likely voters September 9-11, the week after the Republican convention.
Of course, the only poll that really matters is the one that concludes at 8 p.m. on November 4.
Great news in the 1st CD race: the prestigious Cook Political Report today changed its rating of the Idaho 1st Congressional District race from "Likely Republican" to "Leans Republican." The Cook Report had already swung the seat from "Solid Republican" to "Likely" earlier this year. To put this into context, in 2006, The Cook Report made the "Likely" to
"Leans" switch on October 18, so Walt Minnick is a full month ahead of
that benchmark - even with Idaho native Sarah Palin at the top of the GOP ticket.
The Cook Report noted, "Despite this district's very serious GOP bent, Republicans admit that Sali himself is the biggest issue in his reelection race. Sali was recently criticized for pressuring non-major party candidates to exit the Senate race, and has taken to holding yard sales to bankroll his shoestring campaign. ... Once again, Republicans are extremely nervous about a district that they shouldn't have to lose sleep over."
Yard sales. You read right. Read more at Swing State Project and Sali's own blog, and see Sali himself make a pitch for it (or for yard signs, oooops) at YouTube. I wonder whether Bill Sali Fan has held his event yet? Or whether, as this blogger wonders, very, very few Idahoans would actually be willing to admit to their neighbors that they'd actually give this guy another term. In any case, Walt Minnick supporters can take the more traditional route to donating money via his website.
Also on the 1st CD front, Minnick has scored the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters (on whose scorecard Sali gets a zero); the Idaho Democratic Party has launched a list of 30 reasons Idaho voters don't want Bill Sali (#30 – Sali voted to worsen health care in rural Idaho); and Betsy Russell of The Spokesman-Review had a story yesterday on the candidates' relative cross-party appeal. A snip:
Both candidates for North Idaho’s seat in Congress are now saying party labels don’t really matter, after Democrat Walt Minnick released a list of 60 “Republicans for Minnick” and GOP incumbent Bill Sali named a Democratic county commissioner as one of his campaign co-chairmen.
"We hear from people all the time who are loyal Democrats, don’t like Walt Minnick, don’t like his position on issues and find they have more support on the things they care about from Bill,” said Sali’s campaign spokesman, Wayne Hoffman.
Funny, though, how the Sali campaign has released the name of exactly one Democrat who supports Sali. According to Russell, "Hoffman said other Democratic supporters didn’t want to be named." I'll bet!
The Blue Dog Coalition was founded 13 years ago by conservative Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives who felt "choked blue" by the extremes in both political parties. As the Coalition has grown, they've become known for a tough stance on fiscal policy, demanding accountability and a renewed focus on balancing the budget.
Well, we're pleased today to say that Walt Minnick has been endorsed by the Blue Dog Coaltion. On a conference call today, Rep, Mike Ross (D-Arkansas) said that dozens of candidates ask for the endorsement each election cycle. This year it's been awarded to only nine, and Walt is among them.
From the press release: "As a successful business owner and former U.S. Army Lieutenant, Walt Minnick knows how important it is for the federal government to pass responsible policies that protect our economy and provide for a strong national defense," said Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications. "There is no group in Congress that is more united, more policy-oriented, or that works harder than the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition, and we are proud to offer Walt Minnick our endorsement today."
U.S. Senate candidate Larry LaRocco has gotten a boost from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). Executive director J.B. Poersch sent an email to many Idaho Democrats asking us to volunteer for LaRocco between now and Election Day. A snip from the letter (click the image at right to read the whole thing): Your Senate race is sure to be close. I know that your volunteer work can make all the difference. Keep in mind 2006 when we won new Senate seats in Virginia and Montana by just a few thousand votes each. The voters you reach in Idaho this year could put LaRocco over the top.
I've said that all the big things - universal health care, a serious plan to tackle global warming, and an end to the war in Iraq - are within our reach, but that Barack Obama and Joe Biden need a filibuster-proof majority to make them happen.
This is the second Idaho race to draw national attention this year. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) added 1st District House candidate Walt Minnick to its "Red-to-Blue" list of competitive candidates way back in April.
Happy Labor Day, everyone. I hope you had a great weekend. I stopped by the Boise Central Trades and Labor Council's annual shindig at Municipal Park, where hundreds of people were enjoying burgers and dogs hot off the grill and plenty of fine speechifying by our Democratic candidates. Before the speeches, I introduced myself to some folks at my table and mentioned that I write for a Democratic blog. One woman asked, somewhat in a panic, if it was a "Democrat" picnic. I said no, but that most union people lean Democratic, and that Democrats work hard for working families. Come to think of it, when was the last time you saw Mike Simpson, Bill Sali, Mike Crapo, or Jim Risch at this event? So yeah, it is a Democratic picnic in spirit, if not in fact.
Larry LaRocco, who has been Working for Senate since last summer, led off the speeches. ("I can't thank you enough for what you've done for working families across Idaho," labor leader John Kierce said as he introduced Larry.) "This is not a time to conceptualize or theorize or visualize about winning," Larry said. "This is a time to put our shoulder to the wheel and win." He blasted the John McCain-Jim Risch health care plan, saying he could describe it in three words: "Don't get sick." He also reminded the crowd that, as a Congressman in the 1990s, he voted against Bill Clinton's wishes and voted against NAFTA. He pledged to continue working jobs alongside Idahoans - he's done 34 so far - even after he's elected as a means of staying grounded in what working families experience every day.
Walt Minnick was next, and the 1st District House candidate said that America is not great because of its Wall Street millionaires or celebrities or star athletes, but because of its working people, adding that "if this country has a future - and it does have a future," it's because working men and women will work to turn around the crises of foreclosed homes, outsourced jobs, and health care and education that's beyond the reach of most middle-class Americans. "Fortunately, we're not the only ones to recognize this mess, he added. "The consensus is that Washington, D.C., is broken and that it's time to fix it.
Debbie Holmes, the 2nd District House candidate, pledged to focus on clean energy jobs, conservation, and honoring our veterans "with real help, not just lip service." She mentioned that as a former Hillary Clinton supporter who became a Barack Obama last March, she was insulted by John McCain's pick of Sarah Palin as his running-mate, adding "Sarah Palin isn't ready to lead this country, and John McCain isn't either. He's proven it with his choice." She concluded her remarks by asking people to "show America that Idaho wants to be part of the change."
Kierce, the president of the Boise Central Trades & Labor Council, asked everyone present to consider giving "Eight in '08," or eight hours of volunteer work for a campaign of our choice. "You don't have to do it all at once," he said, and in fact, an hour a week from now through Election Day sounds about right. Click on the websites linked above, or consider volunteering for any of our great Idaho State Legislature candidates, many of whom were on hand for today's festivities, including Les Bock, Grant Burgoyne, Sue Chew, Brian Cronin, Greg Funk, Kate Kelly, Bill Killen, Phyllis King, Nicole LeFavour,Michelle Waddell, and Elliot Werk. (I hope I didn't miss anyone. You can view a longer list of state candidates here. And remember Ada County commisioner candidates David Langhorst and Paul Woods, too. Let's turn the courthouse blue.)
Update: McJoan had a write-up and photos at Daily Kos, too. "Yes, Idaho still has Labor, though two decades of 'right to work' has lessened their ranks. Nonetheless, they're still active, vocal, and fighting for Idaho Dems." Read and see more here.
This comes as no surprise: Democratic candidate for the U.S. House Walt Minnick has launched a Republicans for Minnick website, complete with a list of 60 people who usually vote GOP but who will be voting for him November 4. From the front page:
We are Republicans. We support Governor Butch Otter. We support Republican elected officials and candidates for office. And we support the traditional leadership of the Idaho Republican Party.
We are Republicans, but we are also Idahoans. We love this state and want it to have the very best people serving as its representatives in Washington, D.C. That is why we will support Walt Minnick in November and ask that you do, too.
Of course, there will be the usual bleating (already begun by Sali spokesman Wayne Hoffman in the Statesman) that these people are RINOs (Republicans in Name Only), but the language above makes it pretty clear that this is not the case. These are people who are willing to vote for the person, not the party, who know that Bill Sali isn't doing the job for Idaho. And for each one willing to be on this public list, there are no doubt thousands more.