Thursday, April 10, 2008

Larry Grant Drops Out

Posted By on Thu, Apr 10, 2008 at 4:00 AM

It's a one-horse race for the Democrats in Idaho's First Congressional District.

Larry Grant announced this morning that he is dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination, officially endorsing Walt Minnick in the process.

"My campaign has never been about my personal ambition," Grant said after being introduced by former Gov. Cecil Andrus.

"There isn't 10-cents worth of difference in my view of the world and Walt Minnick's," he said. "That’s why we need to be working together to beat Bill Sali, not spending valuable time and resources in a contentious primary

Grant made the decision to leave the race on Wednesday, citing the need for Democratic Party unity in the effort to unseat Republican Rep. Bill Sali in the November general election.

"Sali is one of the most embarrassing and ineffectual congressmen we've ever had," Grant said.

A third Democratic candidate, North Idaho businessman Rand Lewis, dropped out of the race earlier in the year, endorsing Grant after his departure.

For his part, Minnick thanked Grant, calling his decision to leave the race, "extraordinary."

"[Grant is] putting his personal goals on hold to unify the Democratic Party, to unify the people of Idaho to remove Sali," Minnick said.

The unified front also means more support from the Democratic

Congressional Campaign Committee, which has targeted the campaign against Sali as one of the top 60 races in the country.

With only one Democratic candidate, the DCCC can step in earlier with support, Minnick said.

While he hopes that eventually means some financial support, it could also mean staffing and advice.

Minnick said he was surprised by Grant's decision, which he learned of on Wednesday afternoon.

While ideologically similar, Grant and Minnick have had very different campaign styles.

Grant has prided himself on a grass-roots campaign, with the bulk of his support coming from district residents.

Minnick went straight to his network of business contacts, getting big donations from both Republicans and Democrats across the country.

Minnick said he hopes to use Grant's expertise in grass-roots politics to boost his own campaign.

"I'm kind of new to this world," he said of community based politics.

Grant said he plans to be an active part of Minnick's campaign.

"There's an opportunity here in Idaho for a Democrat that doesn't come around very often," Grant said.


Sali responded to the announcement by praising Grant for running a strong campaign in 2006, while calling Minnick a raging liberal.

“With Walt Minnick as the Democrat nominee, Idahoans are left with a very clear choice," Sali said in a written statement released Thursday afternoon. "Walt's positions on issues seem to be in line with San Francisco's Nancy Pelosi, but not with Idaho's First District."

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