Election Central

Berch — Boise Democrat who lost to Patterson — says he’s running again

West Boise Democrat Steve Berch, who lost the 2012 race for District 15 House by 6 percentage points, announced Wednesday that he’ll try again in 2014.

Berch likely would have preferred a rematch with former GOP Rep. Mark Patterson, who won with 53 percent to Berch’s 47 percent. The news in November that Patterson had pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit rape in 1974 and withheld that information from his concealed weapons permit application would have made Berch’s task easier.

But late last month, the District 15 Republican Committee urged Patterson to resign and the embattled lawmaker took the advice after weeks of resistance. His replacement, former Idaho State Police Capt. and U.S. Marshal Patrick McDonald, was appointed and sworn in Wednesday as the newest member of the House. McDonald himself was campaigning to unseat Patterson and now will run as an appointed incumbent.

Berch spent about $47,000 on his 2012 race, Patterson about $38,500. Since then, Berch was elected as a director of the Boise Auditorium District.

In a news release Wednesday, Berch connected the District 15 GOP committee, which is chaired by Rep. McDonald’s wife and Idaho Senate Sergeant at Arms Sarah Jane McDonald, to Patterson’s rise. The District 15 Committee elected Patterson as chairman before his 2012 election.

“It is time for a change; a time to elect new people and new voices to represent all citizens, not just the same group of well-connected insiders,” Berch said. “West Boise residents in District 15 understand this better than anyone. After electing someone who avoided all public scrutiny even after taking office, voters in this traditional Republican district have learned they can no longer trust someone just because they have an ‘R’ next to their name.”

This year’s contest will mark Berch’s third run for the Legislature. Before redistricting, Berch was defeated in the 2010 District 14 House race by now-House Education Committee Chairman Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, who won 68 percent to 32 percent in a heavily GOP district. Berch spent about $52,700 in 2010.

The new West Boise district is competitive for Democrats, having historically favored moderate Republicans.

Berch’s news release follows:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Steve Berch announces he will run to represent West Boise (House Seat 15B)
Boise, Idaho – January 15, 2014. Steve Berch has announced that he will run for House Seat 15B representing West Boise in the Idaho Legislature. Berch was the Idaho Democratic Party candidate who narrowly lost to Republican Mark Patterson in 2012. Patterson resigned in disgrace 10 days ago.

In May 2013, six months after electing Patterson, voters in the District elected Berch to serve on the Board of Directors of the Greater Boise Auditorium District where he continues his public service to the community.

Said Berch, “Since being elected to serve the constituents in District 15 and the greater Boise area, my commitment to honest, effective public service continues to grow. When I moved to District 15 over 32 years ago, Idaho was admired nationwide as a rising star among the 50 states. Since then, GOP politicians have failed to capitalize on that opportunity. Idaho is now last among the 50 states in education and wages. West Boise residents have been among the hardest hit by this failure of leadership.”

Berch’s presumptive challenger in November will be Pat McDonald. McDonald was nominated to replace Patterson by a 15-member political group led by his wife. This is the same group of GOP politicians that elected Mark Patterson to be the GOP District 15 Chairman and leader prior to the 2012 election.

Berch commented, “It is time for a change; a time to elect new people and new voices to represent all citizens, not just the same group of well-connected insiders. West Boise residents in District 15 understand this better than anyone. After electing someone who avoided all public scrutiny even after taking office, voters in this traditional Republican district have learned they can no longer trust someone just because they have an “R” next to their name.

“Voters in West Boise want, deserve and expect their Representative to be honest, hard-working, responsible, and above all, treat people fairly and with respect. I met thousands of voters at their door in 2012 to give them an opportunity to meet me and know who I am. I will do so again in this campaign. I look forward to continue meeting with West Boise voters and demonstrate that I am worthy of their trust.”

About Steve Berch:

Steve Berch has lived in West Boise’s District 15 for over 32 years, starting when he moved to Idaho in 1981 to work for the Hewlett Packard Company. In May 2013, Steve was elected by voters in District 15 and the greater Boise area to serve on the Board of Directors of the Greater Boise Auditorium District. He and his wife Leslie have been married for 30 years and have a daughter, Katie, who attends Centennial High School.

Contact Info:
Steve Berch (Candidate): 890-9339
Email: berch4idaho@msn.com
Website: www.berch4idaho.com

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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Posted in Election Central, Idaho Politics