“This is a man who can win in the fall; a man I trust and can be elected in November as Congressman from the first district,” said former Idaho governor and Secretary of the Interior Cecil D. Andrus.
Andrus was introducing Walt Minnick, candidate for the Democratic nomination to the House of Representatives, in front of supporters and press this morning in front of the Idaho Historical Museum in downtown Boise.
Describing himself as a “straight shooter,” Minnick said, “My friends say I’m a bit of a maverick, and hard to categorize. I’m a Democrat who spent four years in a Republican White House.”
Standing with his wife and two children, Minnick said he’s a “proud Idaho Democrat” but “you won’t find me lining up 100% on anybody’s political scorecard.”
Citing Frank Church’s “standing up to a president in order to keep the CIA from spying on ordinary Americans” and Gov. Butch Otter defying party lines to vote against the Patriot Act, Minnick said, “You may disagree with me on some things, but I promise I will look you in the eye, say what I think, then do what I say.”
“I want to make a difference, not a headline,” he said.
Minnick said that in “an increasingly dangerous and troubling world,” he encounters “people who don’t think the politicians we send to Washington are doing a good job.” He said his priorities are how to get the U.S. out of Iraq, better education policy and funding, taking care of veterans and runaway government spending. “We need to get back to the way Cecil Andrus did it and not load the next generation with our debt,” he said to applause.
Supporter Jon Seidl, owner of Seidl Home Company, said he’s supporting Minnick “because he’s the best candidate. He has a wealth of terrific experience, and I think he can win.”
I asked Minnick a similar question about the internet which I put to Jim Risch and Larry LaRocco, who will likely face each other in the race to replace Sen. Larry Craig – “Do you read online news and blogs and will you use the internet to campaign?”
“I’m not a dinosaur,” he said. “People are not always getting their news from the same places anymore. Of course I read the blogs, it’s important.”
Minnick also cited global warming, smart development, protecting hunting and fishing and wild lands, and “making sure our water runs clear” as campaign issues.
Minnick faces two primary opponents: businessman Larry Grant, who lost the race to Bill Sali in 2006, and Rand Lewis, a former university professor and Department of Defense security consultant. The winner will challenge incumbent Bill Sali in November 2008.
Publisher’s note: Full disclosure: Walt Minnick’s wife is a very good friend of mine.