Friday, November 7, 2008

Simpson, Minnick, notch wins


BOISE— Democrat Walt Minnick ousted Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Sali in the 1st Congressional District, scoring Idaho's biggest political upset in more than a decade and adding an unexpected member to the House Democratic majority.

In the 2 nd Congressional District, incument U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson easily won re-election.

Minnick won his district with just more than 50 percent, or about 3,700 votes, becoming the first Democrat from Idaho to capture a congressional seat since Larry LaRocco in 1992.

Minnick, a 66-year-old former executive with wood-products company Trus Joist International, emphasized his Republican roots as a 1970s Nixon White House staffer and as a gun-toting hunter.

Sali, a 54-year-old Kuna lawyer who touted his own pro-gun, anti-tax message, lost after a single term, in part because his brusque style alienated members of his own party's establishment. In June, he defied Otter and backed Norm Semanko over then-state GOP Chairman Kirk Sullivan to lead the party. Semanko won.

Simpson defeated Democrat and political newcomer Debbie Holmes with 71.2 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from 96 percent of precincts in the district.

Holmes, a Boise real estate agent with no previous political experience, went up against Simpson after nabbing nearly 70 percent of the Democratic vote in the May primary race.

In Congress, Simpson sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

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