Idaho's 1st congressional district has a 2012 race: There's now a Democratic candidates to go alongside the Republican incumbent, Raul Labrador, who presumably will seek re-election.
Jimmy Farris, 33, now living in Meridian and a former NFL wide receiver (for a bunch of teams including the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins) said in a conference call with reporters that he's in, definitely - "We're filed, I'm in." He said his next steps will include fundraising and becoming known around the district, which seems reasonable enough. He said he has a current staff of five (geogrpahically scattered at present), and there's a website.
"This about convincing people that I'm the best person to represent people in this district in Congress. And that's a 50-50 proposition, they either vote for me or against me," he said.
Well ... as any number of Idaho Democrats would attest, it's a little tougher than that. Well, a lot tougher.
He comes across as a nice guy, more easygoing and pleasant than you might expect from a stereotypical NFL player, and those things - with some celebrity - would be assets. He is an Idaho native. And he sounds plainspoken and transparent; you don't get the sense of someone making excessive claims (as has happened in this district before).
On the other hand. He may be an Idaho native, but he hasn't lived in the state between leaving for college more in Montana more than a decade ago, and this summer, when he moved to Meridian. His interest in politics, he said, is quite recent, to the point that he only election he's voted in (in his recollection) was in the 2008 general election; he did not vote last year.
"What I really want to do is make a difference," he said. He expressed concern for the economic state of the country, but beyond saying very generally that he would support a jobs bill, had little specific by way of prescription. He acknowledged he has a good deal to learn yet about a wide range of issues.
Why is he Democrat? "I want to make things easier for other people," he said. "I'm a Democrat because im interested in the lives of everyoday people." If that sounds a little vague, it's not clarified by his view of his opponent, of whom he offered little direct criticism: "It's not about challenging Congressman Labrador." (Actually, it is: By running, he's asking voters to fire him.)
Getting to the NFL has to be a very hard proposition. This may be harder.