Caldwell's Manning seeks rematch with Hixon for Idaho House seat

February 18, 2014 

Travis Manning, who won a respectable 46 percent of the vote against freshman Rep. Brandon Hixon in 2012, seeks to become the first Canyon County Democrat elected to the Legislature in 32 years.

Manning, 43, an English teacher at Vallivue High School, announced his candidacy Monday at Caldwell High School. He cited two measures that have become popular talking points for Democrats: Idaho's No. 1 national ranking in the proportion of minimum-wage jobs and its No. 50 rank in per-pupil public school funding.

"Perhaps there is a correlation between the two," said Manning. "If we don't invest in education, we don't reap the rewards of an educated workforce."

Manning significantly outperformed eight other Canyon County Democrats in 2012, who averaged 32 percent. The last Democrat elected in Canyon County was Sen. Terry Reilly in 1982. Reilly died in 1986 in a plane crash while running for lieutenant governor.

Hixon, 32, likely was damaged by reports that he'd been charged with five misdemeanors and 15 infractions, which he described as youthful indiscretions.

“It’s not a reflection on what’s going to happen in the future," Hixon told the Idaho Press-Tribune. "You basically grow up. You understand what true responsibility is. You make commitments and you stick to them.”

In December, the Press-Tribune reported Hixon hadn't paid his mortgage since June 2012 and his home is in the foreclosure process.

Hixon has yet to draw a GOP opponent. But as one of 14 House GOP freshmen who voted for Gov. Butch Otter's state-run health exchange, he may well face a challenge on that issue. The filing deadline is March 14.

Hixon has a significant financial advantage, having raised almost $13,000 in 2013, most of it from lobbyists and political action committees. He spent over $10,000 in calendar 2013, with about $2,500 in cash as of Dec. 31.

Manning raised nothing in 2013 and reported $1,817 in debt as of Dec. 31.

Manning is a graduate of Ricks College and BYU. In 2011, he founded the Common Sense Democracy Foundation of Idaho, partly because of his opposition to the "Students Come First" laws overturned by voters in 2012.

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