Both of Idaho’s senators voted with their Republican colleagues to confirm Betsy DeVos as President Donald Trump’s education secretary, and both were lobbied heavily by opponents to reject her in the days leading up to Tuesday’s vote.
Devos was confirmed by the Senate after Vice President Mike Pence voted to break a 50-50 tie.
Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo both reported groups of constituents visiting their district offices and heavy call volumes to express objections over DeVos’ nomination and other disagreements with the Trump administration. Those efforts continued into this week, though not just from Idaho constituents.
Kaylin Minton, Risch’s communications director, said the office received “a few thousand calls and emails combined” regarding DeVos. She said a majority of calls “came from out of state and were initiated and scripted by outside organizations.”
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Minton said many of the callers identified themselves as natives of Michigan, DeVos’ home state. She said by email that the call volume was high, but similar to the volume received ahead of other significant votes in Congress, such as the 2010 vote on passage of the Affordable Care Act.
Minton did not have specifics on the number of calls for and against DeVos, or the number of calls from actual Idaho constituents.
Last week, Crapo’s communications director, Lindsay Nothern. met for an hour with a group protesting DeVos and Trump policies.
Crapo’s press secretary, Robert Sumner, provided a statement Wednesday that the senator’s offices “have been experiencing higher than normal call volume on many issues, including cabinet nominations.” He did not provide an estimate on calls received or the number from out of state, saying the office “cannot distinguish that number precisely or differentiate how many of those may have come from repeat callers.”