Idaho’s Minnick Says He’s Done for Good

December 18, 2010

By Kyle Trygstad, Roll Call Staff

Rep. Walt Minnick was defeated for re-election after serving just one term representing his state’s western Congressional district, and the Blue Dog tells Roll Call he’s gone for good. Looking ahead at redistricting in his deep-red state, it may be awhile before another Idaho Democrat makes it back.

“I think I’m done with elective politics,” Minnick said in an interview with Roll Call. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do, but I think it’s time for somebody else.”

The Idaho Democratic Party’s best chance at winning a House seat in the next 10 years may shift east to Republican Rep. Mike Simpson’s 2nd district. With the 1st district believed to have an edge of 100,000 people, the district line, which currently runs down Boise’s Cole Road, may shift west to push all of Boise into Simpson’s district.

Western Boise can be a swing area, according to GOP insiders in the state, and is represented by a Republican in the state Legislature. Still, shifting the boundaries would also bring in a large number of Democrats. That would begin to shift the mostly balanced districts away from each other — they voted nearly identically in the past two presidential elections, with Republican candidates winning handily.

Insiders from both parties told Roll Call that the redistricting option still would not put the popular Simpson, who is expected to become an Appropriations Cardinal in the next Congress, in danger — at least not in a general election. Should he retire or seek higher office, however, the open seat could present an opportunity for Democrats.

“Of course a Democrat can win in Idaho,” Minnick said.

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