Ex-Gov. Batt breaks self-imposed silence, cites Minnick's 'warped' ads in announcing Idaho endorsement

Former GOP Gov. Phil Batt, who backed Vaughn Ward's losing campaign in the primary for 1st District Congress, says he'd intended to keep quiet about his preference in the general election.

But Batt says Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick's two TV ads attacking GOP nominee Raul Labrador for his practice of immigration law have prompted him to announce his support for Labrador. Batt also said it is "imperative" that Republicans control the House and impose financial discipline. Batt supplied a written statement to the Idaho Statesman, preferring that route to an announcement by the Labrador campaign.

Wrote Batt:

"Walt Minnick has made some courageous votes in Congress, usually reflecting the views of most Idahoans.

"Nevertheless, it is imperative that this nation reverse the headlong rush toward fiscal insolvency taking place under the Democratic leadership. We must replace Speaker Pelosi and her crew of Democrats. Therefore, I am endorsing Mr. Raul Labrador for Congress.

"I supported Mr. Labrador's opponent in the primary election and had intended to refrain from public comment during the period leading to the general election.

"But Mr. Minnick's dishonest attempt to warp Mr. Labrador's views on illegal immigration have prompted me to break my silence. I'm backing Raul Labrador for congressman from Idaho's 1st District."

Batt declined to elaborate on the statement.

At 83, Batt is an iconic figure for many Idaho Republicans, and widely respected by Democrats for his even-handed governance during his single term in office, from 1995-1999. Batt defeated Democratic Attorney General Larry EchoHawk in a come-from-behind race in 1994. But he stepped aside in 1998 for then-U.S. Sen. Dirk Kempthorne, who was subsequently elected to two terms.

Among Batt's accomplishments as governor was convincing a reluctant GOP Legislature to extend the mandate that employers carry workers compensation insurance to farmworkers, who are largely Hispanic. Batt also served 14 years in the Legislature. His civil rights accomplishments include mandating field toilets for farmworkers, creation of the Idaho Human Rights Commission and establishment of the Martin Luther King/Idaho Human Rights Day as a state holiday in January.

An onion grower and packer whose family farm is in Wilder, Batt was lieutenant governor from 1979 to 1983 and his party's nominee for governor in 1982, when he lost to Democratic Gov. John Evans by 4,208 votes.

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I don't care for those Minnick ads either.

But I'm still gonna vote for him.

Time to paulse

The two political figures I respect most in Idaho are Phil and Cecil. Now I will have to rethink what I am going to do. Put me down as currently undecided.

The two I respect most also

Like you, I am undecided. I sent for an absentee ballot thinking I had made up my mind. Glad I didn't submit it because it is going down to the wire for me. Minnick has sunk so low, but Labrador just doesn't cut it either. He took an endorsement from that lunatic sheriff in Arizona. Maybe I just won't vote.

Speaking of Warped Ads

I distinctly recall the warped ads that Phil Batt ran against Larry EchoHawk showing that EchoHawk would drain Lucky Peak Reservoir for salmon - which was a lie of course. Perhaps Mr. Batt has upped his standards in the past 16 years from his low blows of yesteryear.

Minnick Ads

I don't care for them. I don't care for most of the ads by any candidate. The only thing they do is tell me how horrible their opponent is, but don't tell me why they themselves are the better candidate. Furthermore, I am disappointed in Mr. Batt. He has fallen in with the lame political rhetoric that I've become so tired of. He states that Minnick has made votes reflecting the views of Idahoans, yet puts his endorsement behind Labrador citing the Pelosi factor. I'd have more respect for Mr. Batt's decision, if he actually cited anything that would give me an idea as to why Labrador is good for Idaho (Sorry, Labrador doesn't get the distinction of being good for Idaho by default, just because Minnick aired a lousy ad) that is not the same talking points we've heard for the last year. The arrogance that has taken over this election is saddening.

Labrador is good for Idaho...

because his philosophical beliefs are more in tune with Idaho and will help turn around the debacle of this administration and DEM congress. Depending on who you believe, Minnick has voted 70% of the time with the philosophies of a party that knows little about business and doesn’t like the private sector. This election is about stopping the radicals that were elected in 2008. While Minnick isn't exactly a radical he is supporting their policies more than he should which is in the long run bad for Idaho. This is about giving the extremists one less supporter. That is why it is crucial that Labrador and not Minnick be sent to Washington. We can't be sending the message that the current policies of Washington are OK by allowing Minnick to be elected to represent Idaho. If Raul shows that, he isn't supporting Idaho well enough he then can be replaced in two years. To me, it's not even close.

I strongly disagree....

With all due respect, I don't think most Idahoan are the type of ideologues Mr. Labrador is and are willing to put common sense above partisan politics. That's why so many of us are identified as independents. Labrador would simply offer one more vote to extremists on the other side. I don't want to send someone to Washington that is so bad I plan on replacing him in two years. If he's not good enough to be elected for the long run, he shouldn't be elected now. We need to stop voting for people based on their partisan label and vote for the person who best represents us. I sincerely believe that is Walt Minnick.

More Rhetoric

Your reply only confirms my comment. I have yet to see anything that shows me what Labrador plans to do if elected. Your reply did nothing to show me how he would represent me in Washington or how Raul benefits Idaho. Nothing. You only continue the anti-Dem, garbage that is tiring. Your support of Raul only because we need to turn around the "debacle of this administration" is pure rhetoric and not based on anything but your own biases. Again I will say, just because you don't like democrats, does not by default mean that their opponents are better or deserve your vote. Labrador will not stop anything. You also contradict yourself. Saying this election is about stopping radicals and then going on to say Minnick is not a radical. I can't believe you'd be willing to give your vote to someone who might not be good for Idaho saying he can be replaced in two years.

Go to opencongress.org

If you include proceedural votes then yes Walt voted 70% of the time with the Democratic party. The problem is when you look closer you will find that Walt only voted with Pelosi 54% of the time and voted with Mike Simpson 77% of the time. You see the difference in the voting lies in the actual votes cast on bills. It's easy to understand the voting with the party when you understand how congress works. But I guess it's easier for you to buy the anti Pelosi rhetoric then it is for you to look into matters. Yes Nancy isn't good for the country but Walt is good for Idaho and votes as an Idahoan not as a party hack like Raul would be.

Why is Nancy atttacked and not the entire Congress?

If she is supposed to be "Darth Maul" are the rest not Stormtroopers?

I'm believing this is some version of the "Our Gang/Little Rascals" He-Man Woman Haters Club" and therefore Right or Russky it's inherently insane and diverts the focus away from the real problems. This is straight from the playground playbook. no doubting it.


Celebrating my 3rd year posting 10/10/10

Don't Care for Ads Either

I don't know who advises Minnick here nor why he'd buy off on these ads, but they've hurt him. Thoughtful voters are sick of ad nauseam negativity and want policy ads. Walt deserves the "spanking". But by bringing Nancy Pelosi into the argument, Batt loses credibility.

The GOP strategy is to demonize a few individuals as everything evil, then associate their opponent with this diabolical plot to overthrow mankind. This from the party that at various levels wants to repeal minimum wage, privatize social security, demand female teachers practice celibacy, deregulate financial monoliths, allow foreign corporations (governments) to fund political campaigns in America, abolish the department of education, replace progressive taxes with regressive taxes, and on and on.
How do they sell this? By saying "Fire Pelosi".

I'll look as best I can at policy issues, thank you.

Well said

Well said and I agree completely.

Are you kidding?

You meant the DNC demonizes their opponents, right? How can you blast the GOP with Minnicks underhanded, blatantly racist ads about Labradors immigration law practice?

Minnick has sunk really, really low. And you people who still support him are being played for fools. By running his racist ads he's betting that a majority of voters in the 1st district are racist enough to go along with it.

If you don't know the value of Labrador, you haven't been paying attention. He sponsored beneficial legislation as a state rep. Look up his record. Extremist? Hardly. He's only extreme to those who are extreme left. Do some research.


I think these ads may very well cost Mr. Minnick the election. Once again, the best that can be said of this election is a choice between two poor candidates. I certainly do not like Mr. Minnick but one positive that can be said of him is that his is he is moderate on the so called social issues - faint praise indeed. Mr. Labrador on the other hand, is firmly ensconced in the wingnut right that has so badly damaged Idaho and America.

moderate by what measure?

Moderate that he voted in favor of govt funded abortion? That he voted against Obamacare but now will do nothing to repeal it or even modify its many flaws? Moderate that he will not debate his opponent on the issues but will run the worst sort of negative ads? Moderate that he tries to shut down media that is critical of him?

Wise words

from Gov. Batt . . .again.

Minnick's continued false advertising and flip flop attitude on key issues have dropped him dramatically in MY poll.

Wait! What?

Gov Batt is a REPUBLICAN?

Yet the key accomplishments were HUMAN RIGHT issues? Including migrant workers?

This blows SUCH a big hole in the rhetoric and R bashing we hear from the TLs.

Batt is much different

Then the current batch of republicans that occupy our great state. I am a lifelong republican and am voting for Walt. I consider myself a conservative but in this state with these republicans I'm a moderate if not a democrat and this from someone who voted for Reagan twice.

What flip flops

are you talking about?

Phil Batt

Anybody that would let their vote be swayed by a idiot is a idiot.

Did you forget !

Did you conveniently forget that Batt backed Ward and how that turned out -- that makes me question Batt's endorsement for Labrador.

I'll still vote Minnick simply based on his representation of Idaho citizens and our interests.

The State of Idaho and The Country Lose

I wouldn't give a plug nickel for Labrador or Minnick. What is the point of searching for the lesser of two evils, what is American about that? Put one bum in office after another, that's why the Country is going down the tubes and now radicals and extremists are jumping on hard times and playing the blame game in order to obscure those who are intelligent, levelheaded and working against the tide to improve our lives. No intelligent man or woman on this planet can single-handedly right the economy under a system run by cold hearted capitalist parasites. The likes of Phil Batt would feed the parasites with democrats and the bodies of middle class Americans so that one to three percent of these parasites can increase their wealth in the millions and billions. Only the ignorant lack the ability to understand the fleecing of America, the jobs sent overseas and the resulting unemployment, lower wages in the U.S., foreclosures and plumeting home values, and a near depression following Republican leadership. C'mon Batt try a new tune. Republican stands for protection of wealth, Democrat stands for protection of the people.

Protection of the people?

Walt Minnick has not voted to protect the people. He has voted Republican on all major social issues so it does not matter who wins in the First District. Both candidates are tied to protecting the rich.

Minnick's Masquerade

It is so true; and I am fully apprised of what Walt Minnick is up to, he is a wolf in sheep's clothing motivated entirely by his own ambitions. He is prostituting himself under the guise of the Democratic Party while at the same time repudiating the principles of the Party. His strategy is to get votes from Democrats because he holds himself out to be one on them. A clever deceptive ploy rooted in dishonesty. Fortunetly many of us have seen the light.

Do you want to cause marital strife?

Wasn't Minnick's wife state chairman of the Democrat party? Did he deceive her too?

Vaughn Ward?

Wasn't Vaugn Ward the guy who plagiarized the Obama stump speeches? And he was Batt's man? Golly! Maybe ol' Phil is spendin' too much time in the onion warehouse or somethin'...


Mentioning Batt's support of Ward in this article adds nothing to the content, is out of context and is simply a way for Popkey to get a jab in writing the article.....classic Popkey.

Dan is a liberal newspaper man swimming in a conservative pond.

You are the one that adds nothing

Read what Phil Batt wrote. He said he supported Mr, Labradors opponent in the primary. Mr. Batt wrote it himself. It is completely in context, and appropriate for Dan Popkey to put it in the article.

Negative Ads

Mr Batt, where do you stand on the negative, misleading ad that Raul Labrador is running against Mr. Minnick?

Sad commentary

It is a sad commentary when a big-name Republican -- in fact, former state Republican Party chairman -- endorsing the Republican in a general election is considered news.

The fact that it's news indicates how unrealiable Phil is when it comes to supporting Republicans more conservative than he is. He was always quick to condemn conservatives for not being sufficiently supportive of more liberal Repubs who won the party's nominations -- you know, like those now endorsing Minnick or Allred.

A former Republican party chair endorsing the GOP nominee. That's supposed to be a given, not "news."

The only real vote

Neither of these guys will have any real day-to-day power in congress. The only vote they will cast that will mean anything is for the next Speaker. But that vote could be huge. The Speaker runs point in setting the agenda and decides what bills come up for vote. Pelosi and company gave us the health care bill, the bailouts and trillion dollar deficits. If that's your cup of tea, vote Minnick. If not, vote Labrador. It's simple. That's the only meaningful issue.