Democrat Ron Twilegar, who four years ago shopped for a county without a candidate for prosecuting attorney and landed in Boise County, has qualified for the general election ballot with a write-in campaign against longtime Ada County Prosecutor Greg Bower.
Bower, a Republican, began working in the office in 1975 as a deputy prosecutor. In 1982, he defeated Democrat Breck Seiniger. Since then, Bower has not had an opponent.
Twilegar, who filed in both Boise and Camas counties in 2008 to improve his chances of winning somewhere, said Monday that he only ran in Ada County this time. Twilegar, who was unopposed in both the primary and general elections in 2008, said he now has a “domicile, as required by law” in Boise County and owns a condominium in downtown Boise.
An attorney general’s investigation in 2009, prompted by complaints from GOP county officials, found “substantial evidence” Twilegar never lived in Boise County when he was running in 2008 but that he wasn’t breaking the law even if he wasn't living in Boise County. Twilegar called the investigation a “political ambush.” Continued conflict with Boise County commissioners prompted them to cut Twilegar’s pay and seek legal advice elsewhere.
Twilegar received 103 valid write-in votes in last week’s Democratic primary, running a “word-of-mouth” campaign.
“At this point, I’m running a stealth campaign,” said Twilegar, 68, who fashions himself a something of a rogue with polka-dot bow ties, bright shirts and long, wavy gray hair.
Asked about issues he’ll raise in an effort to unseat Bower, said he would prepare a news release. “I’ll get something to you as soon as I can.”
Added Twilegar, “I’m still in stealth mode. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to campaign. It just means I’m not going to campaign now. I’ve been known to be a little unconventional.”
Twilegar is a former Senate minority leader and was the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in 1990, losing to GOP Sen. Larry Craig.
Bower, 63, said he’s preparing to run his first campaign in 30 years. “We have a plan in place. I look forward to giving voters an opportunity to compare my record as Ada County Prosecutor to his as Boise County Prosecutor. I’m in my 38th year here and have hired every single employee. I will take special care to make sure I’m still running the office in January.”
Bower said he plans to open an office staffed by volunteers, establish a website and Facebook page, employ direct mail and make campaign appearances. “I expect to gear up and make a full-fledged effort.”
Will he debate Twilegar if such a forum is offered? “I’ll see," Bower replied.
Can he match Twilegar's sartorial splendor, I wondered?
"I do not have a single bow tie and I have a barber," said Bower, whose taste runs toward three-piece suits.
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