Idaho state Sen. Dan Foreman, R-Viola, says he won’t attend the Latah County Fair next year unless he receives a personal apology from fair management for how he and other Republicans were treated during the four-day event in September while staffing the GOP’s booth.
A body cam video from the Latah County Sheriff’s Office dated Sept. 14 — the first day of the fair — shows a confrontation between Foreman, who was elected in November to represent the 5th District in the Legislature, and an unseen male.
The Latah County Sheriff’s Office had a command trailer at the fair, staffed by four to five deputies. A fairgoer walking by the command trailer told a sheriff’s deputy an argument was under way nearby, about 50 yards from the trailer, sheriff’s office spokesman Lt. Brannon Jordan told the Statesman.
In the video, at 5:52 p.m. the sheriff’s deputy approaches an obviously agitated Foreman, who tells the deputy, “This guy says I’m not doing my job, and he’s lecturing me on the Constitution.”
The deputy asks both men to move along. Before Foreman walks off, he calls the man a “liberal nuttard” and tells him, “Go ahead, don’t vote for me, because you didn’t.”
Foreman then leaves the scene, but can be heard saying, “Go straight to hell, you son of a bitch.”
A call to Foreman by the Statesman Tuesday was not returned.
But Foreman told the Daily News on Monday that prior to the incident, he was leaving the fair after a less than enjoyable day when a man “sought him out” and confronted him. Foreman said the man accused him of abusing his power as a senator and had told him he was not representing his district.
“He attacked me personally and was unnecessarily rude,” Foreman said.
Foreman said Moscow is the only town in Benewah and Latah counties where he feels less than welcome at times. He said during the fair the Republican Party booth was subjected to far more criticism, hateful speech and rude gestures — by fairgoers and fair management — than the Democrat’s booth.
“I would like to know why the Republicans get treated differently than the Democrats by the county fair — I want a personal apology for how we were treated,” Foreman said.
Latah County Fair manager Jim Logan told the Statesman the confrontation shown on the video did not take place at or near the GOP’s booth in the commercial vendor building, which is the only designated area a vendor or exhibitor can promote its product.
Logan said he has not talked to Foreman and he does not know what Foreman referred to when he claimed fair management was rude to people working in the Republican Party booth. He said a fair employee did have to tell GOP booth workers they needed to stay in their booth per their contract.
“Fair exhibitor rules are enforced equally, regardless of who the concessionaire or exhibitor is. One such rule, memorialized by the exhibitor contracts, is that the exhibitor agrees to remain within the bounds of their leased booth space. All exhibitors are expected to comply with this expectation,” Logan said in a written statement.
When asked if fair management would apologize to Foreman, Logan replied, “I have issued my statement.”
Foreman said he stands by every word he said to the man and that if constituents approach him kindly he is willing to have a civil conversation with them about their disagreements.
Foreman said the man in the video is just “an example of the nuttiness of the loony left” that is all too common in Moscow.
“Loony left-wing people think if they disagree with you they have the right to yell,” he said.
By the time deputies arrived, only Foreman could be heard yelling.
Since taking office in January, Foreman has gained attention for some of his proposals, most notably a bill that would have allowed women undergoing abortions and the doctors performing the procedures to be charged with first-degree murder. The bill did not pass.