A little Monday morning reading

Little bit of quick reading for a Monday morning, eight days pre-primary:

• Over in Nampa, the Idaho Press-Tribune endorsed Sunday in the race for Canyon County prosecutor and sheriff. They too picked John Bujak for prosecutor and incumbent Chris Smith for sheriff. Read their endorsements here.

• Want to know more about a Democrat endorsing 1st Congressional District Rep. Bill Sali — allowing the campaign to note Sali has bipartisan support for a second term? Click here.

So what is Nancy Merrill thinking?

The big political question of the week goes like this: “What the heck’s Nancy Merrill thinking?”

Or, put in more scholarly terms, “Can a write-in candidate — even one who, as former Eagle mayor, has built-in name ID -- actually unseat a powerful member of the Legislature with a two-week campaign blitz?”

Odds and time are against Merrill, and on the side of Ada County’s most influential, albeit polarizing lawmaker, House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star.

Merrill’s on-again, off-again campaign kicked back into gear last weekend, 16 days before the May 27 primary. Voters are already casting absentee ballots – which list Moyle running alone in the GOP primary. Once voters figure out that Merrill is running, she has to educate voters about how to write in a candidate.

What if you held a debate, and told the public to go away?

I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I believe man landed on the moon, not on a movie set someplace. In that spirit, I believe the Republican candidates for Senate debated Wednesday night.

But I cannot believe an outfit that (incessantly) calls itself "Idaho's news channel," and a bunch of their media sponsors, would actually hold a debate — and tell the public to take a hike. Click here for the story.

How ludicrous can you get?

Don't we all think transparency is not merely an ideal — but the oxygen that gives health to the public process? Don't we all believe elected officials and candidates for public office should be open-book accountable? Don't we believe that it's part of our job to inform and engage the electorate?

Sali's debate no-show: A few other reactions

A few more blog reactions to Rep. Bill Sali's decision to back out of a debate with Republican challenger Matt Salisbury. The Idaho Public Television-League of Women Voters-Idaho Press Club debate was slated for Sunday.

• From Betsy Russell at the Spokane Spokesman-Review's Eye on Boise blog (By way of disclosure, Betsy and I are president and vice president, respectively, of the Idaho Press Club board): "I know first-hand that the Idaho Debates, which the Press Club, the League and Public TV have co-sponsored for three decades worth of primary and general elections, require many hours by many volunteers to bring together, many of which already had been expended for the 1st District debate that was to happen in five days. (Sali spokesman Wayne) Hoffman said Sali had equivocated from the start about whether he would attend. 'We responded back that we could do it if we could do it,' he said. 'At that time, the congressman couldn't commit.'"

The no-show non-debaters: Sali joins the crowd ...

Little did I know that this would become part of my beat here at the blog: writing about candidates saying no to debates.

The latest, 1st District Rep. Bill Sali, said no Tuesday to an Idaho Public Television debate — just five days before it was scheduled to take place. Sali spokesman Wayne Hoffman is citing time conflicts. "We just couldn't make it work in the schedule," Hoffman said in today's Statesman.

The debate's sponsors tried to come up with another time this weekend — including the less-than-ideal but better-than-nothing option of taping the debate for airing Sunday night. No go. From Betsy Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review's Eye on Boise blog:

Holmes vs. Sneddon over energy issues

David Sneddon and Debbie Holmes are sniping at each other in their Democratic race in the 2nd Congressional District, over energy issues.

Said Holmes, in a rebuttal to our Sneddon endorsement from last week: "Sneddon wants to breach the dams, a position the Statesman calls 'gutsy.' Gutsy, yes, but also bad policy. I am the more environmentally friendly candidate. Sneddon told the Idaho Falls Post Register that he wishes to replace the dams with liquid coal power plants, which have higher carbon emission rates than oil-based plants and would leave dangerous amounts of acidic waste. Whatever the faults of hydropower, at least it doesn't poison Idaho's air and, potentially, its water supply."

From the endorsement interviews: Our case for John Bradbury

We didn't orchestrate it, but we have endorsed against four of Butch Otter's gubernatorial appointees, and haven't endorsed any of them.

In this morning's paper, we endorsed challenger John Bradbury over Joel Horton, appointed seven months ago to a seat on the Idaho Supreme Court.

This was the toughest of the four choices. Horton certainly has the credentials, the temperament and the intellect to serve on the Supreme Court. In other words, Horton is no disaster — unlike Otter legislative appointees Rep. Curtis Bowers of Caldwell and Sen. Shirley McKague of Meridian.

Can't win 'em all ...

The Statesman publishes rebuttals from candidates who we do not endorse — and as you've seen on recent Opinion pages, the responses are rolling in.

Normally these are fairly boilerplate rundowns of a candidate's platform, and that's fine. But sometimes a comment really jumps out — like this morning's response from Boise Republican Julie Ellsworth, looking to return to the Idaho House of Representatives.

We were unimpressed by Ellsworth's noncommittal comments about Idaho's road construction backlog, estimated at $240 million per year. Ellsworth wants to wait on an Idaho Transportation Department audit before committing to any increase in fees or taxes.

Senate candidate calls out no-show rivals

No-show Senate candidate Lt. Gov. Jim Risch isn't just hitting a nerve with debate sponsors.

Neal Thompson, one of the eight Republicans looking to succeed Larry Craig is ripping Risch and several other rivals for skipping appearances in Cascade, Grangeville, Twin Falls and Burley.

From an e-mail from the McCall Republican:

"In the past two weeks, I have spoken at 2 Republican Commitee Forums and two Open Forums. It is interesting that Jim Risch, Fred Adams, Richard Phenneger, and Scott Syme have chosen not to attend any of these events.

"At a time when Idaho and our Nation's economy is struggling, we have candidates who are unwilling to stand in front of their voters to be held accountable by looking them in the eye and answering their heartfelt questions.

Larrey Anderson's long literary journey

A pump provides a supply of morphine to Larrey Anderson's spine, injured in a bizarre accident more than 20 years ago.

Anderson takes, he is quick and pleased to say, one-three hundredth of his old dosage. The morphine does not eliminate the pain, but eases it enough to allow the former state senator to write. To sign copies of his new novel.

And to talk. The other day, we spent more than hour talking about writing, about national politics, about philosophy, about his recovery. The only topic off limits was local politics; "I'd really rather not talk about it." Which, after three weeks of endorsement interviews with legislative and county candidates, was fine by me.

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