First, BW broke the news that First District Rep. Bill Sali has both his congressional and campaign offices in the Second District, despite federal regulations requiring that congressional offices be in the district they represent. Now, the Idaho Republican Party is attempting to turn the tables on Sali’s opponent, Democrat Walt Minnick.
The party released a statement yesterday alleging that Minnick had claimed primary residence and paid 2008 property taxes on a home in the Second District. While the release admits that Minnick is currently living in a rented house in the First District, it states that Minnick had taken a homeowners exemption for his 2008 property taxes.
“It reminds me of ‘Where’s Waldo?’ Where is Walter Minnick’s primary place of residence? Does he live at the location where he’s registered to vote? Or does he live at the location where he’s claiming a property tax exemption of $100,000? Where’s Walter’s house?,” Idaho Republican Party chairman Norm Semanko, said in the release. “If Minnick doesn’t owe Ada County for improperly taking the $100,000 exemption, he at least owes Idahoans an explanation.”
Well, turns out Minnick has a simple explanation: No one has paid property taxes for 2008 yet.
The property tax bill covering the first half of 2008 isn’t due until December, and the last property tax billing in June only included the last half of 2007, according the Ada County Assessor’s Office.
According to Minnick’s spokesperson, John Foster, Minnick did own and live in a home in the Second District until October 2007, before moving to the First District. Minnick took the homeowners’ exemption for 2007, and paid the taxes on his Second District home in June.
Since last October, Minnick has lived in a rented home in the First District while waiting for his other home to sell before building a new house on property he has owned in the First District for the last 25 years.
While Minnick still owns his house in the Second District, it is no longer his primary residence and he has not filed for a 2008 homeowners’ exemption.
“They implied a lot of things that are not true,” Foster said of the GOP allegations.
While Minnick does live in the district he is seeking to represent, he technically doesn’t have to. According to Idaho law, a candidate does not have to live in the district they want to represent—although it does help.