And they're off, and boy do we feel overwhelmed by deja vu around here.
With Lt. Gov. Jim Risch's announcement today that he's entering the race to replace U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, Idaho gets a rematch.
Once again we have Risch the Republican running against against Larry LaRocco, the Democrat
. Risch trounced LaRocco
in the 2006 race for lieutenant governor.
In a downtown announcement, surrounded by a herd of fellow Republicans (except for Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, hmmm) Risch made it plain: he's in.
"Because you know me, you know I will bring the same energy and passion to the U.S. Senate that I brought to the Governor's Office and to the halls of Idaho's Statehouse for these many years," Risch said.
LaRocco has, of course, been in the running for months. Since June he's been employing his "working for the senate" routine, where he spends a day trying out different jobs around Idaho. So far, he's had 11, he reported this morning.
"I don't need to conduct focus groups to find out what's on the minds of Idahoans," he said, in a statement released to the media today. "I have learned about the struggles to raise families in today's economy. I have learned of the heartache of declaring personal bankruptcy due to lack of health insurance. I have talked with small business owners about the pressures of regulation and exploding costs of energy."
Risch, for his part, introduced as his campaign co-chairs former Gov. Phil Batt and U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo.
"I have known Jim for over 20 years, from my time serving with him in the Idaho State Senate to working closely with him during his time as Idaho's 31st Governor," Crapo said. "Throughout his public service career, Jim has consistently demonstrated outstanding leadership and integrity."
Risch declined to speculate on Craig's decision to stay in the Senate despite growing concern
from some within his party.