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!