Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Roberts Drops out of Congressional Race

Posted By on Tue, Nov 10, 2009 at 12:57 PM

Idaho House Majority Caucus Chairman Ken Roberts of Valley County has withdrawn from the race for Idaho's First District congressional seat, now held by Democrat Walt Minnick.

“It is with great reluctance that I withdraw from the race for the First District congressional seat of this great state. For the past several days, I have been dealing with an unexpected health issue that has affected my candidacy and hampered my ability to make this run. I feel that it is my responsibility to my family to step out of the race at this time and concentrate on my health.”

Roberts said he had carried the "conservative banner" as far he was able, and said that two potential conservatives have approached him about the race.

An hour and a half after Roberts' announcement, Eagle Rep. Raul Labrador told Dan Popkey at the Idaho Statesman that Roberts had been referring to him and that he would be running for the post.

Vaugh Ward at BW HQ
  • Vaugh Ward at BW HQ
It is now clear that Roberts was not talking to Vaughn Ward, who has raised close to $300,000 in the race and has been running full time for more than seven months. Ward even stopped by BW offices last week for an introduction and short interview.

Ward, who has now taken to referring to Minnick as "Walter," tried not to talk about the congressman too much, but could not help himself in a few instances.

"This idea of voting no isn't enough," Ward said. "There's a lot of hand wringing ... my intellectual honesty is not a curiosity, it's what I believe."

Ward also positions himself as a conservative, a real Idaho Republican, asserts that he does not see eye to eye with Sen. John McCain, though he worked for his presidential campaign in Nevada and stresses his relative youth. He fired off a list of Idaho politicos and their ages when they entered politics: Steve Symms, 34; Larry Craig, 35; Dirk Kempthorne, 40; even Frank Church, 32.

Ward is 40.

We asked Ward, who remains in the Marine Corps Reserve, about his past CIA involvement and this is the best answer we could get: He was a case or operations officer—an agent. He was recruited, there are no job ads for that position. And his job was roughly to "engage known Taliban or al-Qaeda and then to get them to do something for us."

Today, Ward commended Roberts legislative service, dropped Pelosi's name again in close proximity to Minnick's and reiterated his conservative cred.

Roberts campaign manager Kevin McGowan issued a terse announcement of his Oct. 23 resignation just yesterday. Popkey also reports that former U.S. Rep. Bill Sali has neither confirmed nor denied his interest in the race.

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