The new Congress, most of it at least, is sworn in tomorrow, and for many that will mark the start of a new career, in some cases an extended period. The two new Oregonians in Congress likely will be there a while. Senator Jeff Merkley will be there for six years anyway (re-election that far out is too hard to predict as yet); and Representative Kurt Schrader looks, for now anyway, to be well positioned for re-election. The same should go for the new Idaho senator, Republican Jim Risch - as matters sit, a strong prospect for re-election if he seeks it.
However, the Hill newspaper today ranks another Northwesterner as the second most endangered new member of Congress (after Louisiana Republican Joseph Cao, whose political difficulties probably are greater than anyone else's in the new Congress). That would be Democratic Idaho Representative Walt Minnick:
Minnick won in large part thanks to outgoing Rep. Bill Sali’s (R) inability to play nice even with members of his own party. The incoming Democrat will attempt to hold down a district that voted 69 percent for President Bush in 2004, and he has shown the fundraising prowess to do so. Minnick would be well-served if Sali ran again, but, even in that case, the GOP primary would be no cinch for the one-term former representative.
The Hill correctly nails the early interest among Republicans in the seat, throwing in the names of Sali, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden (who was interested in a U.S Senate seat last cycle) and state Senator John McGee of Caldwell. (more…)