Election Central

Ada County Republicans snub Rep. Simpson, affirm support for Sens. Cruz and Lee

The Ada County Republican Central Committee is supporting the efforts of Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee and expressing pride in three of Idaho’s four GOP members of Congress joining them in voting against a measure reopening the government last week.

In a statement authored by Legislative District 22 Chairman Dan Johnson and approved Tuesday night, the committee praises Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador for their “principled votes” in support of efforts to require repeal or delay of the Affordable Care Act as part of a budget and debt deal.

The statement also urges 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson — facing tea party challenger Bryan Smith in the May 2014 Republican primary — to get on board when Congress takes up the spending and borrowing battle again early next year.

Cruz and Lee led the effort to shut down the government and joined Crapo, Risch and Labrador in voting against the deal brokered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The solution also was backed by Simpson’s friend, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Simpson was among a minority of House Republicans who voted for the Reid-McConnell compromise to reopen the government and permit additional borrowing to pay the nation’s bills. Crapo, Risch and Labrador voted against the deal, but enough Republicans joined Democrats to end the standoff on the eve of the nation breaching its debt limit.

Though the statement doesn’t name Simpson, it closes with this admonishment: “We also encourage our entire congressional delegation to support similar efforts in the future.”

Simpson, of course, is the only one in the four-member delegation who voted to reopen the government, lining up against Cruz and Lee.

But Simpson said he doesn’t see the committee’s urging that he vote like his colleagues — and “support similar efforts” made famous by Cruz and Lee — as a snub.

“I don’t see anywhere in this resolution where they are expressing support for a government shutdown or calling for default on our debts,” Simpson said in a written statement. “Instead, the Central Committee seems focused, as I am, on opposing Obamacare and highlighting its negative impact on the American economy and healthcare system. That is why I opposed Obamacare from its inception and why I have voted over 40 times to repeal, delay, or defund it. I can’t predict right now what the next set of bills will look like in January and February, but I’ll take these concerns and those of all of my constituents into account at that time.”

Meanwhile, Lee is facing blowback in Utah, where business-minded Republicans are talking about finding a challenger to oust him in 2016, according to the Washington Post.

Spencer Zwick, national finance chairman for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, called Lee a “show horse” who “just wants to be a spectacle,” in the Post story.

“Business leaders that I talk to, many of whom supported him, would never support his reelection and in fact will work against him, myself included,” Zwick told the Post.

According to a Brigham Young University poll early this month, Lee’s favorability rating among Utah voters dropped 10 points from June. Forty percent of voters had a favorable impression of Lee, with 51 percent viewing him unfavorably. Fifty-seven percent of voters surveyed said they wanted Lee to be more conciliatory and compromise on a budget, even if it meant funding the Affordable Care Act. The poll had a margin of error of 3.2 percent.

But in Texas, Cruz has been hailed as a hero, according to a second story by the Post. Cruz will be in Iowa this weekend, testing the presidential waters, heady stuff for someone who’d never run for anything until he won the 2012 Senate race.

“Just about every GOP candidate with aspirations to statewide office in 2014 seems to be styling himself or herself after Cruz,” writes the Post’s Karen Tumulty. “In tight formation, they are moving hard to the right and looking for the next big populist rallying cry — secession, rolling back the state’s liberal immigration laws, impeaching President Obama, amending the Constitution to end the direct election of U.S. senators.”

On the Ada County GOP Central Committee, both Cruz and Lee are heroes. Johnson sent the text of the statement to the Statesman late Monday night, with a personal preface. Both follow, in full.

Johnson’s note:

I have heard the national press constantly repeating the criticisms of (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid (D-Nev), (Sen.) John McCain, (R-Ariz.), (Rep.) Peter King, (R-N.Y.) and the like, implying that most Republicans disapprove of the actions of Senators Cruz and Lee and those in both houses of congress that supported them.

Then in the alternative media I watch as Senator Cruz enters rooms to standing ovations. I witnessed the enthusiasm of our county central committee and my wish is to have our local media at least, report that we officially support those who are truly fighting for improvements in our national situation.

Because of this I authored the following statement that was approved and passed by the Ada County Republican Central Committee tonight.

Central Committee Statement:

October 22, 2013

Whereas the Affordable Care Act has proven to not be ready for implementation…

Whereas we are a nation based upon equal protection under law and unions, big businesses, government employees, etc. have been exempted from current compliance with the Affordable Care Act and the average citizen has not…

Whereas the Affordable Care Act compromises the sovereignty and powers granted to the several states by the tenth amendment…

Whereas there is no accountability for our government to control spending and therefore little effort to make substantive cuts to government spending…

Whereas we have not had a constitutionally mandated budget in five years and have been funding our government through an extra-constitutional instrument called a “continuing resolution”…

Whereas, regardless of what our debt limit is we have been “monetizing” that debt through machinations at the Federal Reserve Bank and putting future costs on generations not yet born…

The Ada County, Idaho, Republican Party Central Committee wishes to commend and applaud the recent efforts of Senators Ted Cruz, Texas, and Mike Lee, Utah, for their attempts to bring attention to the deficiencies and inequities of the Affordable Care Act, the United States federal budget and the impacts of the former on the latter.

We further wish to express our pride and appreciation to our Idaho Senators, Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Idaho First Congressional District Representative Raul Labrador for their principled votes in support of the efforts of Senators Cruz and Lee.

We also encourage our entire congressional delegation to support similar efforts in the future.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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