BOISE - The National Republican Congressional Committee has spent more than $100,000 to boost Idaho Republican Bill Sali's bid for Congress and attack Democrat Larry Grant, and it's poised to spend much more.
Already, the national group has targeted Idahoans with automated anti-Grant "robocalls" that even Sali has denounced as inappropriate, but the NRCC isn't backing off. "Any phone banks hired by the NRCC to conduct operations in Idaho's 1st Congressional District are done completely independent of the Bill Sali for Congress campaign," NRCC spokesman Jonathan Collegio said....
The calls likely are just the beginning. The NRCC conducted a poll in Idaho's 1st District earlier this month, then launched the calls and also spent $7,585 on production of an issue ad....
Don Rosebrock, campaign spokesman for Grant, said his campaign heard that the NRCC is spending more than $375,000 to run a TV ad against Grant throughout the district that could debut any day. "We got the word from our media buyer that it's $377,000, and there's one station in Spokane that they hadn't (yet) done the buy for," he said. "I don't think the TV ad is probably going to be warm and fuzzy.... I think it's going to be a smear campaign, because that's what they do."
The GOP is going to end up spending upwards of $500K--half a million--to defend a seat in Idaho. And where is a lot of this GOP money coming from? Sali is raising almost all of his money from big donors, PACs and the Club for Growth. Grant has raised about $150K from individuals to Sali's $91K (more than half of which was bundled by the anti-government Club for Growth). Sali meanwhile took in $207,750 from political action committees, while Grant's PAC total was under $30,000.
And where is Sali's money going, other than attack ads? A far-right, fundamentalist Christian attorney for the Keep the Commandments Coalition, and organization which has wasted untold taxpayer time and money in its efforts to force the City of Boise to return a ten commandments monument to a city park.
One of the Sali campaign's biggest expenditures has been to Spartac LLC of Meridian, which received a total of $119,392 for what Sali's FEC reports said were media and polling consulting services from Nov. 1, 2005, through Sept. 30, 2006.
According to state business registration records, Spartac LLC was created Nov. 7, 2005, by Eagle attorney Christ Troupis, the attorney for the Boise-based Keep the Commandments Coalition. Sali's campaign made its first payment of $7,000 to Spartac three days later, on Nov. 10, 2005....
As a state lawmaker, Sali was the House floor sponsor of a resolution drafted by the Keep the Commandments Coalition and passed by the Idaho Legislature in March. It asked Congress to let elected officials and government bodies publicly display their religious beliefs and to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibiting Ten Commandments displays on public property.
On their little effort to Christianize Boise City government, Bill Sali has dreamed up with is buddy Troupis this "consulting" firm, Spartac LLC, created and bankrolled seemingly entirely by the Sali campaign. One can only imagine what they'll do with their little project if Sali actually manages to get to Congress. And on top of this, he's deeply in the pocket of the Club for Growth, that organization that want to completely eliminate the USDA.
It can't be stressed enough--Bill Sali is a dangerously out-of-the-mainstream Republican. But the enmity he's developed over his years in the state legislature has diminished as Idaho GOP lawmakers think about the ramifications of losing that seat. As much as they may hate him, they've ponied up (at a fundraiser featuring Dennis Hastert, no less). The GOP is circling the wagons to keep the seat, even if it means supporting the worst possible candidate they could come up with.
The GOP is running scared on this one. The DCCC has dubbed it an emerging race and CQ has uprated it. As Markos posted earlier, this race has become something other than forcing the GOP to defend this seat they would otherwise take for granted. "While we were focused long-term, building for the future, these guys decided to be competitive in the short-term. We'll take it."
Let's keep it competitive. Join Governor Schweitzer and Jag, or use the buttons below. Maybe next year we'll see a nice big swath of purple in the west.