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Stolen Campaign Brochures: Disrespect, Dirty Tricks or Criminal Behavior?

"Dirty campaign tricks like these have absolutely no part in civil modern-day Idaho politics."

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Call it skullduggery, unethical behavior or dirty tricks, a long chapter of American political history has been filled with electoral shenanigans. No one is saying recent allegations that Rep. John McCrostie (D-Garden City) swiped Republican campaign literature from Garden City doorsteps is historic, but both Idaho Democratic and Republican party officials were quick to say if it's true, it's nasty business.

"We are disappointed by reports we are seeing regarding Rep. McCrostie," said Idaho Democratic Party spokesman Dean Ferguson. "We want to be clear that the IDP, both publicly and privately, urges candidates and volunteers to respect everyone's campaign material."

"Dirty campaign tricks like these have absolutely no part in civil modern-day Idaho politics," said Idaho GOP Executive Director David Johnston.

Ryan McDonald, Republican challenger to District 16 Sen. Grant Burgoyne (D-Boise) reported he confronted McCrostie in a Garden City neighborhood on Oct. 11, when he saw the incumbent legislator holding Republican campaign literature that had gone missing from doorsteps in the neighborhood. McDonald recorded his encounter with McCrostie, asking if he had stolen campaign materials belonging to his opponent, Joel Robinson. McCrostie instantly answered, "No, no. That's silly." When McDonald pressed him, saying he saw McCrostie taking Robinson's literature, McCrostie said, "It's part of the game."

When the incident caught the attention of Idaho media on Oct. 24, McCrostie issued a statement, saying he had "made a mistake," while apologizing to family, supporters and constituents.

Robinson told Boise Weekly he has since forgiven McCrostie. However, on the Oct. 11 recording, McDonald tells McCrostie the issue is far from over. McCrostie responds, "It will be over on Nov. 8," and walks away.

The incident isn't over at Garden City Police headquarters, either. McDonald has filed a formal complaint, asking for a criminal investigation into the matter.