Bryan Smith ducks question on support of Speaker Boehner

Idaho Second District Republican congressional challenger Bryan Smith told Roll Call that it’s too soon to say whether he would support re-electing GOP House Speaker John Boehner.

“We’re talking about an event that would take place in (January) 2015,” Smith told Roll Call. “I can tell you that I would put my support behind somebody who was the most conservative person that would represent the conservative values of the good people of Idaho’s 2nd congressional district.”

The Roll Call story includes a 3-minute video of Smith.

Smith is a first-time candidate from Idaho Falls who says he is taking nine months off from his law practice to campaign full time against eight-term Republican Rep. Mike Simpson.

Roll Call’s interview with Smith, conducted at the newspaper’s Capitol Hill office, was published Monday, the same day Boehner helped Simpson raise $95,000 at a Boise event that drew over 400 Simpson supporters.

Smith said he said he was motivated to challenge Simpson by a 2010 town hall where he was unhappy with Simpson’s explanation of his vote for the 2008 bank bailout. Smith didn’t run in 2010 or 2012, instead supporting Chick Heileson, who got 24 percent of the vote in 2010 and 30 percent in 2012. Simpson won with 58 percent in 2010 and 70 percent in 2012.

Smith told Roll Call that neither 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador — who didn’t vote for Boehner as speaker in January — nor any other member of Congress encouraged him to challenge Simpson. He also said he decided to make the race before winning the endorsement of Club for Growth in June. Simpson has said he’s counting on Club for Growth to raise as much as $2 million on Smith’s behalf.

Roll Call says the seat is “safe Republican.” It also notes that Smith’s campaign team includes Cold Spark Media’s Nachama Soloveichik and Mark Harris as general consultants and campaign manager Carrie Brown.

 

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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