Idaho Rep. Bill Sali did finally concede the election to Walt Minnick late Wednesday, leaving what's described as a "gracious and heartfelt message" on Minnick's voicemail.
Idaho businessman Walt Minnick, a conservative Democrat, has snatched a Republican House seat from Idaho Rep. Bill Sali, according to the state’s now complete, but unofficial vote totals.
Minnick declared victory at 11:15 Wednesday morning.
“Most importantly I would like to thank the thousands of Idahoans, Republicans, independents, who chose to look at this campaign from the standpoint of who could be more effective for Idaho and to cross party lines and to do something that is rare in Idaho: elect someone who’s party affiliation was other than Republican,” Minnick told the TV cameras at a gathering outside the Idaho Historical Museum.
Minnick counted 175,567 votes to Sali’s 171,324, a 51-49 margin, after the last remaining Idaho precincts reported totals to the Secretary of State early this afternoon.
Sali said at a 12:30 p.m. GOP press conference on the steps of the Idaho State Capitol Annex that the counting was not done and he did not concede the election.
“There’s a process that needs to play out and we’re anxious to make sure that every ballot gets counted, that they’re all counted correctly make sure that we come up with the right result for the election,” Sali said.
But at the same press conference, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo offered his congratulations to Minnick and pledged to work across the isle with Idaho’s newest congressman.
“As Walt and I talked… we can work across party lines, and our delegation whether it be our national delegation or those who serve here in the state are going to be focused on good government and on making sure that we eliminate from the political scene to the best of our ability the kind of harsh, bitter personal and partisan politics that have taken such a dominant focus in our national election climate these days,” Crapo said.
Minnick also said he had spoken with Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson Wednesday morning and planned to meet with him soon.
“He and I are going to get together, hopefully in the next few days and talk about how we can forge a bipartisan team that will allow us to work with Republicans work with Democrats, work with the new Democratic administration and come up with common sense solutions to problems that will be in the best interest of the country and helpful to Idaho,” Minnick said of Simpson.
Minnick is Idaho’s first Democratic congressman to be elected since Larry LaRocco’s final term in 1992.
KTVB caught some flack when it refused to allow some members of the media, including the Associated Press and the Idaho Statesman, into its Republican primary debate for U.S. Senate in May. This time around, the television execs seem to have changed their minds.
When asked if a reporter for the Boise Weekly could attend the KTVB debate for the five-way Senate race, a KTVB representative said reporters would be allowed in along with the general public. Only members of the panel would be allowed to ask questions in the debate, however.
The debate airs live tonight from 6:30 to 8 PM, followed by a debate between Rep. Bill Sali and Walt Minnick, who are running for Idaho’s First Congressional District seat.
The Senate race is between Republican Jim Risch, Democrat Larry LaRocco, independents Rex Rammell and Pro-Life, and Libertarian Kent Marmon. Marmon claims he was not invited and is urging supporters to call the station and protest. He plans to attend and sit in the audience.
Rammell was shut out of the GOP Primary debate in May and left in the parking lot along with the media.
The KTVB debate is one of only three that Risch has agreed to appear in during the general election season, and the one that would be closest to reaching statewide.
Candidates for Idaho’s Second Congressional District will battle it out in the KTVB debate on Thursday starting at 7 PM.
Something called the Idaho Media Coalition puts on these debates. It includes the KTVB News Group, KPVI, Peak Broadcasting, Idaho Business Review, Idaho Cable Telecommunications Association, Idaho Press-Tribune, KREM and Northwest Nazarene University. Notice Boise Weekly is not in this particular coalition.
Citydesk is not going to go all the way to Nampa to watch these things just because we can, but check back for another blogging event soon…