| Rep. Bill "Brain Fade" Sali just can't stay out of trouble. His latest offense? Supporting a successful insurgent candidate against the incumbent Idaho GOP chair, who was the preferred choice of Gov. "Butch" Otter. The Idaho Statesman's Dan Popkey writes that crossing Otter might have some in-state consequences:
But Otter matters most. If he throws his arms around Sali - as 2nd District GOP Rep. Mike Simpson literally did in 2006 - it could be decisive. Otter can help Sali retire a $135,000 debt and keep pace with Minnick, who out-raised Sali two-to-one in the first quarter.
Or Otter could decide his schedule is just too tight to help the congressman who defied him, leaving Sali reliant on out-of-state money and following the beat of his different drummer on the campaign trail. [...]
"It was a slap in the face to the governor," said a GOP lawmaker who spoke to me on condition I not use his name.
When asked about getting even, Otter replied: "Wait and see."
Sali has strained some other relationships at home, too. From Real Clear Politics:
The incumbent faces more pressing problems for the current campaign. Sali's consultant, an Idaho-based firm called Spartac LLC, is the candidate's long-time friend, but he says he won't do any more work for the incumbent unless he's paid first, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reported last month. Sali still owes Spartac $76,000, and has total debts of $135,000, according to FEC reports.
It's no secret that Sali has had trouble fundraising, which is why he was added to John Boehner's ROMP program earlier in the year. But if Sali is going to rely on PACs and his fellow members to bail his ass out against well-funded Democrat Walt Minnick, should he really be insulting one third of the House GOP caucus? From the Politico:
Rep. Bill Sali (R-Idaho), addressing a gathering at the Shake the Nation rally in Idaho on May 16, told those assembled that he goes "to work in a place that, well, it's quite a mess: your nation's capital."
"I tell people," he said, " 'As bad as you ever thought it was, just know it's a lot worse.' In spite of that, I work with a group of probably around 130 people that are very good folks, people that I look up to, that I respect a great deal, people who would be quite comfortable sitting in these pews on a Sunday. I hope you're encouraged by that."
What does Sali think of the other 69 of his Republican colleagues? Are they godless heathens?
You've got to hand it to Bill Sali -- he sure knows how to make politics in Idaho interesting.
SSP currently rates this race as Likely Republican.