Skip to main content

In the summer of 2006, there were strange rumblings about a potential Democratic House pick up in the most unlikely of places:"Freakin' Idaho!" as kos said. It was happening because of Larry Grant, a former Micron executive and a good Democrat who decided that this seat would not go uncontested.

Grant had originally volunteered to be the candidate recruiter for the open seat. He didn't want to run, but he also couldn't scare up anyone willing to put themselves on the line to run what was going to be a very, very difficult race. So Grant decided to do it himself. And did it so well that the Club for Growth and the Republican party had to pour money into the race to try to keep it. In Idaho. They even sent Dick Cheney in at the last minute. They did retain the seat, but with just a five-point margin, the closest election Idaho has seen for some time.

Larry Grant softened that seat up. He proved that a Democrat could run strong in Idaho, and with the stars lining up and enough money, which he didn't have in 2006, could win. But having proved that it could be done was the trick, and it attracted challengers in Idaho's Democratic primary, something that Idaho Democrats rejoiced over. It's challenging enough in Idaho to find one Democrat willing to run, and at the beginning of the cycle, we had three.

But it comes back to that money issue. Democrats have an extremely high profile race for the Idaho Senate seat that Larry Craig is, finally, abandoning. Larry LaRocco is running strong for that seat, and is a more than credible candidate. But that race is eating up some Idaho resources that make fundraising for the House seat a challenge. One of the challengers, Walt Minnick, has the benefit of having been an active fundraiser, and funder, for the party for over a decade. With the party establishment behind him, he's built a formidable war chest.

Larry Grant decided to do what was best for the party.

Saying "there isn’t ten cents of difference" between his views and Minnick’s, Grant pledged to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with Minnick to help beat Republican Congressman Bill Sali.

"My campaign has never been about personal ambition," said Grant.

"An opportunity for Democrats like this doesn’t come along very often. I don’t want to be standing here in November asking ‘what did we do wrong?’ The objective is to beat Bill Sali."

His grace in stepping down was matched by Minnick.

Walt Minnick said, "What Larry is doing is truly extraordinary.  He’s put his desire to serve in federal office on hold temporarily to do something greater – to put the Democratic party and the people of Idaho first, to remove Bill Sali from office."

Calling Sali "the most embarrassing and ineffective Congressman we’ve ever had" Minnick gave Grant credit for being "the foremost public spokesman to reveal Bill Sali’s voting record, which is abysmal."...

Minnick said Grant’s "selfless act" was the most important thing that could be done, and that Grant’s "superb" campaign organization has opened doors for a Democrat to win.

I've heard from numerous Idaho friends that immediately following the press conference, Grant, Minnick and Andrus moved the show to a downtown Boise coffee shop, where they plotted together on where the race goes from here.

My loyalties in this race were with Grant. I met Larry in the fall of 2006, when I was on my western races road trip. I've been in contact with him since, and have grown to respect and like him more and more. While I'm disappointed, this decision on his part makes sense for Idaho and makes sense for the race. Now that it's uncontested, the DCCC can and will come in to help Minnick. And Minnick is a very solid progressive with a strong track record in a key issue for Idaho, conservation. He's got a very strong campaign team in place. A united front behind Minnick in Idaho will at the very least make the NRCC and the Republican party have to spend a lot of money to defend this seat, money that they just don't have this cycle.

The groundwork laid by Larry Grant, with help from the netroots and Idaho's strong blogosphere, is what made this possible. Thank you, Larry, for all that you've done for Idaho's Democrats. You deserve a huge round of applause, at the very least. Now let's beat Sali.

On the Web:
Walt Minnick for Congress

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 04:05 PM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site