Election Central

Wall Street Journal touts Idaho’s Smith-Simpson as example of GOP divide

With PAC money and independent expenditures flowing to Idaho’s 2nd District congressional race, the Wall Street Journal says support for Rep. Mike Simpson over newcomer Bryan Smith is emblematic of how business interests are fighting GOP insurgents.

The contest is “a leading example of how the Republican Party’s business-friendly, establishment wing plans to answer challenges from the party’s tea-party wing.”

The subscription-only story by Neil King Jr. ran Saturday, building on reporting the Statesman began in July, including an interview with former GOP Congressman Steve LaTourette of Defending Main Street and the Republican Main Street Partnership.

King quotes another regular on this blog, Barney Keller of Club for Growth, who says Smith beating Simpson “will send a shiver down the spine of the political establishment.”

The Journal isn’t the first national publication to profile Smith-Simpson. In October, the Washington, D.C., news site Politico called the Idaho race the leading example of the GOP’s “nasty split over the federal shutdown and debt crisis.”

King’s story adds some nice context about Mitt Romney’s support of Simpson, reported here last month. King says Romney’s endorsement of Simpson was just his second in the 2014 election — the first being his vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan.

Writes King: “Mr. Romney made sure to remind Idaho voters of one thing. In a short endorsement letter sent to primary voters across the district, Mr. Romney noted how ‘conservative’ Mr. Simpson is — nine times.”

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