Romney to stump for Otter, Simpson & Risch in Idaho Falls, Boise

dpopkey@idahostatesman.comMarch 5, 2014 

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will spend March 19 and 20 in Idaho Falls and Boise on behalf of the re-election campaigns of Gov. Butch Otter, 2nd District Congressman Mike Simpson and U.S. Sen. Jim Risch.

"These are three guys that were early supporters of Mitt," said Boise businessman Travis Hawkes, who helped Romney raise $6 million in Idaho for the 2012 presidential race as the campaign's Idaho finance chairman. "It's like getting the band back together."

Otter and Risch co-chaired Romney's Idaho presidential campaign and Simpson endorsed him in 2008 and 2012. Otter and Simpson have primary challenges from the GOP's right wing, from Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Russ Fulcher and Idaho Falls lawyer Bryan Smith, respectively. Risch, who so far has no opponent in the May 20 primary, looks to face Democrat Nels Mitchell in November.

On March 19 in Idaho Falls, Romney will appear at a $500 per person fundraiser for Simpson and later at a free event. On March 20, he will appear at a $100/$250 lunch for Otter in Boise.

Hawkes and another top Romney aide from Idaho, Todd Cranney, are senior advisors to the Simpson campaign and consultants to the Otter campaign. Cranney was Romney’s national deputy political director.

Romney defeated President Obama in Idaho 65 percent to 33 percent and remains the most popular political figure in the state, Hawkes said. While he wouldn't disclose specific polling results, Hawkes said internal surveys show Romney's "favorability is higher than anyone else," including Otter, Simpson and Risch.

Romney's popularity has improved since he lost the 2012 election, buoyed in part by a sympathetic portrayal in the Netflix documentary, "Mitt."

In a national Gallup poll early last month, 47 percent of respondents viewed Romney favorably, with 43 percent seeing him unfavorably. That's considerably better than the most recent measure of President Obama's most recent job rating, an ABC/Washington Post poll that found 46 approved of the president's performance and 50 percent disapproved.

Details of the events and RSVP information follow:

Wednesday, March 19, Idaho Falls:

5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Mike Simpson fundraising reception at the Hilton Garden Inn. Tickets are $500, or $2,600 for hosts.

6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., free reception, at Frank VanderSloot's Riverbend Ranch. All three candidates are expected to attend.

Thursday, March 20, Boise:

11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., Butch Otter lunch, PowerHouse Event Center. Tickets are $100 and $250, with hosts at $2,500.

To reserve tickets, contact Hawkes at or 208-890-2174.

The paid events will be closed to the press, but Romney will hold a news conferences after the Otter fundraiser in Boise. The free event at Riverbend will be open to the press.

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