And now for a couple of things from Idaho Democrats ...
For those of you waiting to hear who will be running against the three Republican members of the Idaho congressional delegation up for re-election in November, you’re going to know by the end of the week, which coincides with Friday’s deadline to file.
We learned Monday that Boise attorney James Piotrowski is going to challenge Republican Rep. Raul Labrador in Idaho’s 1st Congressional District. A partner in the law firm Herzfeld & Piotrowski, he “specializes in representing workers and building bridges between workers and employers,” according to a news release from the Idaho Democratic Party.
Though the 48-year-old Piotrowski cites many reasons for running, one of his statements signals that public lands will be at the top of his list.
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“I have watched for five years as our 1st Congressional District has gone without real representation in Congress and, like many of you, I’ve been frustrated. Frankly, the final straw was when Raul Labrador decided to make it his sole mission to endanger Idaho’s public lands and destroy this singular legacy that was passed on to us and that we should pass on to future generations,” he said.
Though Democratic officials weren’t disclosing other federal candidates, Dean Ferguson, the party’s communications director, said he’s certain that opponents for Sen. Mike Crapo and Rep. Mike Simpson will be named by the weekend.
Finding congressional-level candidates to run and defeat incumbent Republicans in Idaho is not easy. Ferguson said strategies adopted by the party are increasing the chances for victory. The last Idaho Democrat in Congress was Walt Minnick, who served one term in the House from the 1st District. He was defeated by Labrador in 2010.
In recent years Democrats have put more emphasis on identifying and developing legislative and county-level candidates. Ferguson said this helps broaden and solidify the base in the state. When Democrats are elected and serve, they enhance their statewide profiles for bigger races down the road.
“When you build that base strength, candidates start seeing the opportunity to win,” Ferguson said. “When you see an easier path to victory, you see more people willing to run for these races.”
Ferguson said the party is pleased with the candidate participation at the legislative level — to the point where, at this time, it looks as though some Democrats will have to face off against one another in the May 17 primary.
After the big-state primaries in Florida, Ohio and several other places on Tuesday, the election action will move to March 22: Arizona Republican and Democratic primaries, Idaho’s Democratic caucus, and the Utah Republican and Democratic caucuses.
Because of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ surprise victory over Hillary Clinton in Michigan on Tuesday — which has bolstered Sanders’ profile and relevancy even more — the buzz around Idaho Democratic circles is that Sanders and Clinton might be more inclined to come to Idaho to campaign between March 15-22.
Although Idaho Democrats have been in touch with Sanders and Clinton surrogates, no appearances are scheduled. Something tells me the timing, and Idaho’s 27 delegates, might change that. It would be easy for candidates to make swings through Idaho and Utah in one fell swoop.
If you want to participate in the Democratic caucus, you’re urged to reserve a seat by visiting the party website at http://idahodems.org/caucus/. One indication of potential turnout: More than 1,000 people registered to attend the caucus on Wednesday, according to a note on idahodems.org.
If you want to learn more about the process and what you need to do, the website can take you through it.