Poking His Fingers in People’s Eyes.

H/T to Red State Rebels.

Last year Betsy Russell at the Spokesman Review wrote an article on Bill Sali and how he “charts his own path.”  There’s more of this via the Wall Street Journal:

So this is the way Bill Sali will win, eh?

“It’s difficult for any Democrat to win in Idaho,” said Mr. Newcomb, the Republican former state speaker. But Mr. Minnick is “a formidable foe,” he said, who could capitalize on Mr. Sali’s reputation for “poking his finger in people’s eyes.”

According to the WSJ, Sali is “defying the political odds” by being in a competitive race and being from a district that is “one of the most heavily Republican electorates in the U.S…..”  Although Bill Sali IS Bill Sali, the funding has been slow and his “combative nature” – well, that’s not especially viewed as an asset.

This presents an unexpected problem for the national Republican Party, which is eager to maintain its 199 House seats in the November race. Republicans are depending on strongholds such as Idaho for easy victories so they can focus resources on districts with divided electorates.

A month ago, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report said Mr. Sali was safe; now, Cook analyst David Wasserman says the race for his seat is contested. Conservative pundit Robert Novak recently said Republicans “need to worry” about the seat.

Now this is interesting – “autopilot”?

Mr. Sali said national Republican leaders assumed his victory “would go on autopilot,” until he called attention to his situation. Now, he said, they are paying attention and offering fund-raising help. Federal reports in May showed Mr. Sali had raised about $200,000 less than Mr. Minnick. Data from Boise Republican pollster Greg Smith show 26% of likely Republican voters in the district’s two most-populous counties rate Mr. Sali “very unfavorable.”

Don Soltman, an executive at the Kootenai Medical Canter in Coeur d’Alene, is a Republican who supports Mr. Minnick. “Socially, I can support him much easier than I can support Bill Sali,” he said. Mr. Soltman said that while he typically votes Republican, he finds Mr. Sali’s focus on social issues off-putting.

Mr. Sali’s trouble with voters such as Mr. Soltman stems in part from a pugnaciousness that has brought him notoriety since 1990, when he became a state legislator. A rock musician and lawyer who home- schooled his six children and says he “gleaned potatoes” as a child when money was tight, Mr. Sali has staked far-right positions with a tenacity that draws criticism from other legislators, including some in his party.

There was the attempted amendment on domestice violence to apply only to heterosexual couples and of course, the link between abortion and breast cancer.

After an abortion debate in 2006, then speaker Bruce Newcomb, a Republican, told a group of reporters in the statehouse hallway that Mr. Sali was “an absolute idiot” after Mr. Sali insisted on the statehouse floor that abortions cause breast cancer. “I’ve not withdrawn my statement,” said Mr. Newcomb, who now teaches at Boise State University. Mr. Sali’s spokesman, Wayne Hoffman, said Mr. Newcomb — who supported a Sali foe in the 2006 House primary — “was frustrated” when he made that comment.

In a separate incident, a Republican Idaho House speaker said he threatened to defenestrate Mr. Sali during a procedural dispute over a bill.

Mr. Sali says his social conservatism is what Idaho voters want. He says his Democratic opponent, Mr. Minnick, is out of step with voters’ desires. Mr. Minnick, 65, says Mr. Sali’s excessive focus on gay marriage, immigration and guns obfuscates problems such as statewide job losses.

Mr. Minnick, who grew up on a Washington state wheat farm, is working to tout his moderate rural credentials. He has posted YouTube videos of himself skeet shooting. He also has conservative, pro- business roots: The former chief executive of wood-products company TJ International Inc., Mr. Minnick was a White House staffer under Richard Nixon from 1971 through 1974. He became a Democrat before his failed run for the U.S. Senate in 1996.

Mr. Sali hasn’t tempered his image. At Idaho’s Republican state convention last month, he helped move a riven state party to the right by backing social conservatives and libertarians who ousted moderate party Chairman Kirk Sullivan. Other state Republicans say the shift galvanizes Mr. Sali among right wingers but alienates moderate voters. Since Barack Obama in February drew more than 14,000 supporters to a Boise rally, moderates have worried about rising Democratic turnout.

There is one sentence in the article that I really do agree with and it is this:  “While Idaho is a conservative state, its voters historically mobilize around limiting government power, rather than social causes.”

Simply put – Bill Sali is a nut.

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