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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday, July 16, 2004


Heinz Kerry breezes through Ketchum

Democratic fundraiser draws visitors from throughout the state

Express Staff Writer

The presidential election spotlight will turn to Sun Valley again this weekend when Teresa Heinz Kerry breezes through town to visit friends and raise dough for her husband’s presidential bid.

Teresa Heinz Kerry

But Heinz Kerry’s visit should be much more inconspicuous than her husband’s spring recreation vacation. When Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry visited their home north of Ketchum in March, the media circus swarmed.

This time, Kerry’s Idaho financial supporters will be the only ones swarming.

The fundraising luncheon is scheduled for noon at the north-Ketchum home of Alan and Melinda Blinken. Alan Blinken, who challenged Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig two years ago, was the U.S. ambassador to Belgium under the Clinton administration.

The Kerry fundraiser could be big, Blinken said.

"We were hoping for 50 to 75 people, and we’ve got more than 300 people," he said.

They are traveling from as far away as Sandpoint for the Idaho-specific fundraiser. Guests will include former Idaho Govs. Cecil Andrus, John Evans, as well as state Rep. Wendy Jaquet and state Sen. Clint Stennett, both Ketchum Democrats.

Blinken said he doesn’t want to project how much money the event will raise, but he said it will garner a "very big" amount.

"Many people have given more than the $500 that we’ve asked for," he said, adding that Democrats will be joined by a number of Republicans and Independents at the event.

As an example, Blinken said he was contacted by a Burley farmer who doesn’t plan on attending the event.

"He said he’s sick of it and sent $2,000, and he said he’s never done anything political before," Blinken said.

Though it is a place of relaxation and mental restoration, life in the Wood River Valley for the Kerrys has changed. Wherever they go from now until the November election, and beyond if Kerry wins, security will be an integral part of their lives.

Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling said his department will be involved with the security detail for Heinz Kerry.

"Any kind of security type of things we do, we don’t get specific on those," he said. "Last time Sen. Kerry was here, what I was hearing was that he probably won’t be back until after the election, but they did not rule out Teresa Heinz Kerry being here a couple times."

On the overall election, Blinken said Kerry stands an increasingly good chance.

"I think the American people have seen that the Bush administration has not lived up to its word," he said. "They took us to a war of choice. They cut taxes for the wealthy. Education hasn’t been funded. And our veterans are getting less, not more, service.

"And the United States has never been so poorly thought of by all our friends overseas."


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.