Democrat Bieter wanted to hear GOP Speaker Boehner, backed Simpson in 2010

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter paid $50 ticket out of his own pocket to see U.S. House Speaker John Boehner headline Monday’s fundraiser for eight-term Republican Congressman Mike Simpson.

According to Bieter spokesman Adam Park, “The primary reason for the Mayor’s attendance was to hear Speaker Boehner. Regardless of political affiliation, the Speaker of the House plays a critical role in how the country is governed. Given the rarity of having the Speaker in Boise, the Mayor felt he couldn’t pass up an opportunity to participate in this event.”

Simpson recognized Bieter among the various dignitaries at the fundraiser, which raised over $95,000 for Simpson’s race against tea party favorite Bryan Smith, a first-time candidate and Idaho Falls lawyer. Simpson’s shout-out prompted one dogged reader to ask me to find out what was up with Hizzoner mixing with the GOP.

Though Bieter served in the Legislature as a Democrat, the three-term mayor’s current job is non-partisan. He is frequently rumored to be prospective candidate for higher office, including governor in 2014, but Bieter himself has revealed little interest since being elected mayor a decade ago.

In 2010, Bieter contributed $250 from his mayoral campaign fund to Simpson’s re-election bid over Democrat Mike Crawford. Simpson won with 69 percent of the vote.

As for 2014, Park said Bieter isn’t taking sides. Yet.

“The Mayor will make that decision after a Democratic nominee has entered the race,” said Park.

 

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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