Hansen to Enter Congressional Race 

Jim Hansen hasn't been a politician since Urkel was popular. For the last 10 years, the former three-term state legislator has been about the farthest thing from a baby-kisser--an advocate for election reform. But now Hansen is throwing his hat back in the ring to take on GOP incumbent Mike Simpson in next November's District 2 Congressional race.

As the executive director and one of the founders of the grassroots coalition United Vision for Idaho, Hansen has been one of Idaho's loudest voices against big money in politics--and judging by his speech announcing his candidacy at the Ada Democrats' JFK Banquet last week, the issue will figure prominently into the upcoming year's race.

"Distinguished public servants, after many years in Washington, have to make choices in a system that blurs the lines between public interest and private gain," Hansen said at banquet. "The system intentionally blurs those lines."

Hansen has said that both for the primary and general elections, he will accept no money from political action committees (PACs) and will limit individual contributions to $100. On the other hand, according to Mike Simpson's profile on the open-government site www.opensecrets.org, the congressman has received $119,500 in the last year from business-related PACs--including $6,171 from Tom DeLay's oh-so-shady ARMPAC.

No word on a Web site yet. But Hansen's prospective opponent in the Democratic primary election next May, Idaho National Laboratory biogeochemist Craig Cooper, can be reached at www.cooperforidaho.org. This race is looking fun already.

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