Even though Bill Sali is a soon-to-be-ex Congressman, and even though top Idaho Republicans like Gov. Butch Otter and Sen. Mike Crapo have sent their congratulations to Rep.-elect Walt Minnick, Sali still refuses to concede the election.
"We're going to wait and see how things turn out, make sure every ballot gets counted," Sali said. Secretary of State Ben Ysursa (also a Republican) responded by saying all the ballots have been counted.
More below the fold.
In his two years in Congress Sali has done his very best to upset just about everyone. Instead of mending fences after the bitterly fought 2006 GOP primary (which Sali won with a paltry 26 percent of the vote), he went on the offensive.
He publicly challenged and embarrassed Otter by supporting the ultra-conservative Norm Semanko over Otter ally (and relative moderate) Kirk Sullivan for Idaho GOP chair. Semanko won.
One anonymous Republican operative stated flatly, "Now was the time to take him out."
Voter reaction was similar. This line from today's Idaho Statesman pretty much sums it up:
It was rank-and-file Republicans like Donald Branton of Eagle. "I voted against Bill Sali because I think he's an idiot and I think he's ineffective," said Branton.
The result? The first one-term incumbent to lose a House seat in Idaho since 1952, and a Democratic Congressional victory in Idaho for the first time in 16 years.
But let's not kid ourselves. Minnick and ID-01 are going to be top Republican targets in 2010. They're already talking about potential challengers, and all of them are infinitely more intelligent than Sali. We need to do everything in our power to hold this seat, and start right away. This map just looks too good right now:
UPDATE: In fairness, I just got this e-mail from the Minnick campaign forwarded to me:
Bill Sali has officially conceded, meaning there are no plans for a recount.
Sali left a very gracious and heartfelt message for Walt last night. Sali offered to do anything he could to help with the transition. He and Walt were scheduled to speak to each other today
Even in Idaho: YES WE CAN!