State Rep. Christy Perry of Nampa, one of seven candidates running for Congress in Idaho’s First District, has never been one to suggest that people should vote for her because she’s a woman. But she has no objections to people supporting her because she’s the only female in the race.
“That’s one thing that sets me apart from the other candidates,” she said.
She thinks that a woman’s perspective is just what’s needed – both in the Idaho congressional delegation and the House of Representatives. As she often says, the average congressman is a 58-year-old white male. Half of the congressmen are lawyers. The white-male society has produced a $21 trillion debt, and gridlock has been the norm.
“A woman’s perspective in Congress is a positive – a big positive,” she says. “Women are far more open to getting all different types of views. They want to hear from all the stakeholders and they are more geared toward finding the right solution, rather than the political solution.”
Perry is part of a national trend, with more than 300 women seeking congressional seats this year. Most of the women are Democrats who are motivated to counter President Trump. But Perry, a Trump supporter, thinks the Republican Party could benefit by having more women in Congress.
I can’t blame her for playing the “woman’s card,” because it’s the most obvious factor that sets her apart from the field. Otherwise, they all love Trump, support a border wall, oppose abortion and promise to stand up for Second Amendment rights. And they all say they are conservative – as if there is any Republican in this state who would dare run as a “liberal.”
Other candidates say they have unique features, although they are asking voters to be more analytical – which is a tall order in what has been a second-tier race in this primary election.
Russ Fulcher, with the help of the conservative-based Club for Growth, has been on the television most with his advertising, which has given him a distinct advantage in the final weeks of this campaign. And, as with Perry, Fulcher looks impressive holding a shotgun.
Former Lt. Gov. David Leroy, who also is a former Idaho attorney general, is touting his experience. “I have more relevant congressional experience than all six of my opponents put together,” he said. “We need a congressman who is ready to go to work immediately for the First District of Idaho.”
Leroy says that unlike the other candidates, he’d come in with strong working relationships with the Idaho congressional delegation – all of whom were in the Legislature during Leroy’s time in office. He hopes Congressman Mike Simpson could help him land seats on the House Judiciary Committee and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “With those committees, I could be of use to the natural resource industry and agriculture committee, while pursuing the defense of our constitutional rights,” Leroy said.
State Rep. Luke Malek of Coeur d’Alene says voters should look at his legislative accomplishments. “I don’t have a lot of fancy titles on my resume, but there are results in my accomplishments.” On health care, for example, “I have pushed for lower costs, greater competition, greater choice and lower premiums for Idahoans.”
Malek also touts endorsements from firefighters, the Fraternal Order of Police and former Sen. Larry Craig. “He (Craig) knows that no one in Washington will fight harder for Idahoans,” Malek said.
Malek also has the PAC endorsement from Republican Main Street Partnership – which generally goes to the more moderate candidates. But he offers an alternative for Republicans who don’t buy into the far-right agenda, or want groups such as Club for Growth deciding the election.
Of the lesser known candidates, Michael Snyder has been making the most noise – calling himself the most conservative and most avid Trump supporter in the race. He’s aggressively going after the 40 percent, or so, of voters who are undecided. For Nick Henderson, who has bypassed the candidate debates, and Alex Gallegos, the last to enter the GOP field, getting 3 percent of the vote on election day would be a moral victory.
The wild card in this race is the undecided voters, which means anything can happen in the final days of this campaign. The candidates can only hope that the undecides are paying attention.