Kerry drops in for campaign
Senator snowboards on Bald
"This is R&R. It’s strictly a
— BETTY MURPHY, Blaine
County Democrats chair
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
The Democratic Party’s
presidential hopeful breezed into Ketchum Wednesday evening with an
entourage of U.S. Secret Service agents, reporters and staff members.
However, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is scheduled to stay at his home
north of Ketchum for a one-week vacation, rather than actively campaign
or raise money during his stay.
Sen. Kerry’s arrival to Idaho
Wednesday night was a well guarded affair. Reporters were kept at a
healthy distance as the Democratic Party’s presidential hopeful deplaned
and boarded a truck bound for Ketchum. Express photo by David N.
Thursday morning, he departed the
Warm Springs base of Bald Mountain for a day of snowboarding while
members of the national media milled around the base area.
"Let me take a run or two and
remember what this is about," he said before sauntering toward the
lifts. Nearby skiers and snowboarders gave him a round of applause.
Upon getting out of a truck at
Warm Springs, Kerry briefly greeted a nearby skier, Raffaele Paciulli,
who is living in Sun Valley for two months.
The chance meeting was
"incredible," Paciulli said. "I told him I wish him a splendid victory."
But campaign officials and local
Democrats stressed that Kerry’s visit this week is a respite from the
"This is R&R. It’s strictly a
vacation," said Betty Murphy, chair of the Blaine County Democrats.
Kerry landed at Joslin Field,
Magic Valley Regional Airport in an unmarked Boeing 737 shortly after 7
p.m. Onlookers were kept at a healthy distance, and law enforcement
officers were abundant. Shortly before Kerry’s arrival, reporters were
backed 20 feet away from a fence surrounding the field.
After milling around on the tarmac
for several minutes and giving reporters a brief wave, Kerry entered a
black, Chevrolet Suburban and joined a 10-vehicle motorcade that headed
north from Twin Falls toward the Ketchum vacation home owned by his
wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. A number of Blaine County volunteers helped
drive Kerry staff members and reporters to the Wood River Valley. The
volunteers organized their efforts at a noon meeting at a private home
north of Ketchum, near the Kerrys’ home.
Kerry left the airport accompanied
by four Twin Falls police motorcycles and a Blaine County Sheriff’s
Office police cruiser.
Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling
said police departments throughout the Wood River and Magic valleys were
coordinated Wednesday to help with security concerns associated with the
senator’s visit. Security will be an ongoing activity for local law
enforcement agencies throughout the week, he said.
"We’ll have people assigned with
the Secret Service people," Femling said. "We have involvement and are
involved with the planning of it.
"This thing will be an active,
day-to-day situation. It’s hard to say at this point how many (officers
will be assigned) on each day, so it will change daily."
According to Murphy, this is
Kerry’s first vacation since he hit the campaign trail in August. He is
scheduled to leave Ketchum Wednesday, March 24.
"This is going to be a busy, busy
few days," Murphy said. "The Blaine County Democrats are involved in
driving and taking care of transportation. We really don’t know anything
until the last minute."
As of Dec. 31, Blaine County
residents had contributed more money per capita to the Kerry campaign
than any county in the United States. However, no fundraising events are
scheduled this week, said Faith Wellman, Blaine County coordinator for
the Kerry Campaign.
On average, Blaine County
residents donated $2.21 each to Kerry's campaign, followed by $1.11 from
Nantucket, Mass., where the Kerrys also have a second home.
"I think Blaine County is an
extraordinarily Democratic place, and I think that has something to do
with it," Wellman said. "I also think that Democrats are extremely
motivated right now."
The Democratic party’s probable
presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., arrived in Ketchum
Wednesday night, before heading to Bald Mountain Thursday morning to go
snowboarding. "Let me take a run or two and remember what this is
about," he told reporters as he walked to the lifts. Express photo by
In addition to traveling with his
wife and staff members, Kerry was accompanied by an entourage of 16
reporters from national newspapers and television news stations. The
reporters were booked into rooms at the Wood River Inn in Hailey.
Kerry is no stranger to the Wood
River Valley, where his wife has owned a home and been an active member
of the community for years. During previous and less conspicuous visits,
Kerry has been a noticeable, but not extraordinary, face on downtown
streets and at local functions.
Though the Kerrys spend time
periodically at their Ketchum home, the senator has not designated the
estate as his official second home. His home in Boston, Mass. has that
distinction, Secret Service agent Robert Harrell told the Ketchum City
Council on Monday.
That means local law enforcement
agencies may have to bear the costs of helping the Secret Service with
protection duties. And if Kerry picks up the Democratic presidential
nomination at the party’s national convention in Boston in July, that
means more protection will be needed.
"His certain level of protection
increases as he climbs the ladder," Femling said.
Murphy stressed that Kerry has
done well in Blaine County because of his family’s local charitable
work. Heinz Kerry was an instrumental player in the preservation of the
Nordic ski center, Galena Lodge, and helped push for the new St. Luke’s
Wood River Regional Medical Center south of town.
"They’re good neighbors," Murphy
said. "I think it’s very important for the West to have a candidate who
is familiar with our problems. So I’m delighted that the people are
helping him here."
In addition to his financial ties,
Kerry also established another connection to the Sun Valley area this
month when he announced that Jim Johnson, a prominent Washington, D.C.,
Democrat and another Sun Valley second homeowner, will head his search
for a running mate.