Idaho Rep. Palmer’s son, Ty, announces bid for Meridian City Council

Ty Palmer, a 25-year-old political science student at the College of Western Idaho, announced on Facebook and Twitter that he’s a candidate for Meridian City Council in November. Voters will be electing two new members, after the city decided to add two seats to make a six-member council.

Palmer is the son of House Transportation Committee Chairman Joe Palmer, R-Meridian. Ty Palmer worked on the 2012 Mitt Romney presidential campaign as digital director in Virginia, serving about six months in the paid position based in Arlington, Va. Palmer now works for Memorial Monuments, manufacturing and installing headstones.

Palmer’s campaign treasurer for the non-partisan City Council race is businessman Travis Hawkes, who raised over $6 million as Romney’s Idaho finance co-chairman.

Ty Palmer has long been active in the Republican Party and worked as his father’s campaign manager. In 2010, he helped defeat an effort by libertarian Republicans backing Ron Paul to take over the Ada County Republican Central Committee. Palmer defeated former Idaho Libertarian Party chairman Ryan Davidson in the race for state Youth Committeeperson, but no longer holds a post in the GOP.

The younger Palmer’s prolific commentary on social media has raised eyebrows among his fellow Republicans. Ty Palmer has called Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, a “Republican in name only” and said he would work to defeat him after Hill voted against a bill asserting the state could nullify federal law. Ty Palmer criticized former GOP state Controller Donna Jones for her pro-choice views and called disgraced former Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, “MeMeMcGee,” before McGee’s misconduct forced his resignation last year.

Ty Palmer’s characterization of Boise Democratic Rep. Phylis King as “perhaps the dumbest legislator of all time” even drew a rebuke from his dad.

“That’s a little rude,” said Rep. Palmer in 2011. “He shouldn’t say things like that, because I’m sure I’ve been chalked up to that level by a lot of people.”

Ty Palmer made headlines last year when his father introduced a bill to disable 259 Boise city parking meters near the Statehouse during the legislative session. Rep. Palmer introduced his bill after his son’s car was towed from a Capitol Mall parking spot in January 2012. Ty Palmer had run up $186 in unpaid parking tickets during the 2011 session and had to pay $343 to get his car out of impoundment.

Rep. Palmer said House Bill 480 was unrelated to his son’s parking woes and the House passed the measure, 41-27. It died in the Senate State Affairs Committee, which included Hill as a member.

Palmer said Friday that he knew the parking tickets would be brought up as he began his campaign. “I guess I’d say I was immature, it was my little protest. But that’s in my past.”

As for his social media posts, “I’ve matured a lot. I’m married, I’ve got two kids on the way. I love Meridian and I don’t have too many problems with Meridian but I want to help it continue to get better and grow.”

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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