Idaho: Best Senate Race Ever?


Honestly, I wish I could just post this entire Wall Street Journal article, but considering you have to be a subscriber to access it online, that’s probably illegal. It begins, “The launch of Rex Rammell’s Senate bid didn’t go as planned. The mud pit and the monster trucks were an insurmountable distraction. The would-be supporters were too drunk to think about the election.” Classic, right? Here’s what you need to know:

(1) Dr. Rex Rammell is a conservative independent who is running in the Idaho senate race to replace Sen. Larry Craig. He is only running because the Republican in the race, a man named Jim Risch, once had Fish and Game Department officers kill 43 members of Rammell’s private elk herd. Risch was serving as interim governor at the time. Rammell, who staged a sit-in on a fresh elk carcass that game officers were trying to remove, vowed at the time “to see Jim Risch never gets elected in this state again.”

(2) Rammell’s daughter is Miss Idaho USA. After winning her crown, she refused to have her photograph taken with Risch, due to the aforementioned dispute between Risch and her father. She called Risch a “weasel.”

(3) One of the fringe candidates in the race (okay, one of the other fringe candidates in the race) is named Pro-Life. That’s his whole name. He is an organic-strawberry farmer who, apparently, cares passionately and exclusively about the rights of the unborn.

Republicans are legitimately worried that Rammell will take a few percentage points away from Risch, thus giving the seat to the Democratic contender, Representative Larry LaRocco. If Democrats are winning in Idaho this fall, say hello to a 60-vote majority.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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