Sali's SCHIP math

In a Reader's View published Wednesday, Rep. Bill Sali used a pair of numbers to argue against the State Children's Health Insurance Program expansion, vetoed last fall by President Bush.

Wrote Sali: "When SCHIP expired last year, Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed to expand SCHIP to people earning as much as $63,000 a year. Idaho’s average income is only $46,000."

We looked into the $63,000 figure, with help from our McClatchy Newspapers Washington Bureau. We found the number is accurate, as far as it goes.

The failed bill could have extended SCHIP coverage to families earning as much as 300 percent of the federal poverty level. That is about $63,000 for a family of four.

Rotisserie politics: Rammell files as an independent; Salisbury, Minnick make it official (3:30 p.m. Wednesday edition)

OK, at least I called this one: Rex Rammell of Rexburg filed this afternoon for U.S. Senate — not as a Republican, but as a "conservative independent."

And here's another non-surprise: Rammell came out swinging against his favorite political adversary, Lt. Gov. Jim Risch (loop back to my morning blog for the Rammell-Risch backstory).

"The party’s back room coronation of Jim Risch as Idaho's next United States Senator, before the people of Idaho have had a chance to speak in the primary election, is evidence of the corruption and cronyism that plagues our government.

1205962311 Rotisserie politics: Rammell files as an independent; Salisbury, Minnick make it official (3:30 p.m. Wednesday edition) Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Senate's heir apparent?

Pro-Life, the hyphenated independent candidate for U.S. Senate, has received the tongue-in-cheek endorsement of liberal D.C. blogger Wonkette.

Pro-Life — who ran for governor in 2006 under the name Marvin Richardson, and has legally changed his name — is running to replace Republican Larry Craig in Senate.

A Wonkette snippet: "Can Craig's seat be usurped by an equally comical legislator-monkey? No, but one candidate in the open-seat Idaho senate race shows great potential."

Read the full post here.

Top-secret toilets

Happy Sunshine Week, from the Bush administration:

As media groups band together to draw attention to the importance of open government — Jonathan Oppenheimer at the Idaho Conservation League offers up this remarkable blog post:

“In September 2006, under the Freedom of Information Act, I requested documents from the U.S. Forest Service on projects (roads, logging, grazing, gopher poisoning, toilet replacements, etc.) that could affect sensitive wildlife species in North Idaho.

On Feb. 15, 2008, I finally received a reply. ...

“But the government blacked out 80 to 90 percent of the text in their response!

Rex Rammell, going independent?

Rex Rammell — a U.S. Senate candidate and Idaho's most notorious elk rancher — has a press conference scheduled for 2 p.m. today to make a statement "about the direction of his campaign."

I don't want to sap the event of all of its suspense. But methinks his e-mail — with an attached file titled "Rammell Inde Release" — provides a pretty good clue.

Can't spell "independent" without "inde."

Rammell has been hinting that he might opt out of the GOP primary and instead run as an independent.

Here's why his decision matters. As an independent, Rammell has more time — clear until November — to make more noise and more mischief for presumptive GOP Senate nominee Jim Risch.

Rotisserie politics: A primary opponent for Robert Schaefer (5:16 p.m. Tuesday edition)

The Treasure Valley's longest-serving legislator will face an opponent in the May 27 GOP primary.

Nampa state Rep. Robert Schaefer, a 24-year Statehouse veteran, will face a primary challenge from Nampa Republican Roberto Olvera.

With three days left in the candidate filing period, here's the up-to-the-minute list:

FEDERAL RACES

U.S. SENATE
Republican candidates: Fred Adams, Idaho Falls; Dick Phenneger, Coeur d’Alene; Hal James Styles, Desert Hot Springs, Calif.; Scott Syme, Weiser; Neal Thompson, McCall; Harley Brown, Nampa (declared but has not filed); Kent Marmon, a former City Council member from Caldwell (declared but has not filed); Rex Rammell, Rexburg (declared but has not filed, and says he may run as an independent); Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, Boise (declared but has not filed).

1205882197 Rotisserie politics: A primary opponent for Robert Schaefer (5:16 p.m. Tuesday edition) Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rotisserie politics: Nancy Merrill bows out of House race, and Mike Simpson gets an opponent (3:45 p.m. Tuesday update)

Former Eagle Mayor Nancy Merrill has bowed out of running for a House race in West Ada County's legislative District 14.

Merrill in February said she would run in the May 27 GOP primary — perhaps in a high-profile race against House Majority Leader Mike Moyle of Star or first-term Rep. Raul Labrador of Eagle. However, she says she will instead attend to family issues, including caring for her sick parents.

"I'm going to stay home and take care of my family and see what I can do here on this front," Merrill said today.

However, she said she would seek office in the future. "You'll see me in two years."

1205876790 Rotisserie politics: Nancy Merrill bows out of House race, and Mike Simpson gets an opponent (3:45 p.m. Tuesday update) Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rotisserie politics: Nancy Merrill won't run, and Mike Simpson gets an opponent (1:15 p.m. Tuesday edition)

Former Eagle Mayor Nancy Merrill has bowed out of running for a House race in West Ada County's legislative District 14.

Merrill in February said she would run in the May 27 GOP primary — perhaps in a high-profile race against House Majority Leader Mike Moyle of Star or first-term Rep. Raul Labrador of Eagle. However, she says she will instead attend to family issues, including caring for her sick parents.

"I'm going to stay home and take care of my family and see what I can do here on this front," Merrill said today.

However, she said she would seek office in the future. "You'll see me in two years."

1205867674 Rotisserie politics: Nancy Merrill won't run, and Mike Simpson gets an opponent (1:15 p.m. Tuesday edition) Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rotisserie politics: Another U.S. Senate candidate (5:30 p.m. Monday edition)

Another name in the U.S. Senate race to succeed Larry Craig.

A hyphenated one.

Independent candidate Pro-Life of Letha filed for the race Monday.

Voters may remember Pro-Life as Marvin Richardson, a third-party candidate for governor in 2006. He has legally changed his name to Pro-Life.

Pro-Life's candidacy could put two independents in the fall Senate race. Rex Rammell said last week he is considering opting out of the GOP primary in favor of a run as an independent. Rammell, a former Eastern Idaho elk rancher, is an adversary of announced GOP Senate candidate Jim Risch; as governor Risch ordered state game wardens to shoot elk that had escaped from Rammell's hunting operation.

Rotisserie politics: Coming out of the woodwork ... or California (1:15 p.m. Monday edition)

We have a fourth Republican candidate to succeed Sen. Larry Craig.

No, not Lt. Gov. Jim Risch — not yet anyway.

Instead, it's Hal James Styles Jr., who lists his address as Desert Hot Springs, Calif. He joins Fred Adams of Idaho Falls, Scott Syme of Wilder and Neal Thompson of McCall in the GOP primary.

Here's the latest Treasure Valley Big Board.

DISTRICT 10: CANYON COUNTY, CALDWELL AREA
Senate: Incumbent John McGee, R-Caldwell, has filed for re-election.
House Seat A: Pat Takasugi, R-Wilder, has filed as a candidate. Incumbent: Curtis Bowers, R-Caldwell.

1205781361 Rotisserie politics: Coming out of the woodwork ... or California (1:15 p.m. Monday edition) Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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