With former Vice President Joe Biden bringing his campaign for president to Boise today — he’s holding a private fundraiser here this afternoon — the Biden campaign has released a list of current and former Idaho leaders who have endorsed him. It includes:
Former Congressmen Larry LaRocco and Richard Stallings; current state Sens. Grant Burgoyne and Janie Ward-Engelking, both Boise Democrats; former state Rep. Hy Kloc, D-Boise; current state Rep. Chris Abernathy, D-Pocatello; former longtime Boise School Board member and former Democratic nominee for governor A.J. Balukoff; Boise City Councilor T.J. Thomson; Garden City Councilor and former state Rep. Elfreda Higgins; Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan; and Jim Walker, secretary-treasurer of IAFF Local 149.
“The support of these distinguished leaders is critical to the success of our campaign in the Gem State and throughout the west,” Biden said in a statement. “I am honored to have earned support from trusted voices in the Idaho community. As we fight for the soul of the nation, I look forward to working with these leaders to make sure Donald Trump is a one-term president.”
Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will appear at a Boise fundraiser this afternoon hosted by Esther Oppenheimer; the two also spoke last night at a fundraiser at the home of Alan and Melinda Blinken in the Wood River Valley. Alan Blinken is the former U.S. ambassador to Belgium who ran for the Senate in 2002 as a Democrat against then-Idaho GOP Sen. Larry Craig.
At Monday night’s event, according to a pooled press report, Biden addressed about 90 people on a lush lawn near Sun Valley, singling out hate and white supremacy as the chief issues facing America.
“What really changed our mind to actually run was Charlottesville,” Biden told the Sun Valley crowd. He said he never thought he’d see such events in his lifetime in our country, “People coming out of fields, carrying torches with contorted faces. Singing and chanting the same exact anti-Semitic bile that was chanted all through Nuremberg, Berlin, all throughout Germany in the 1930s, accompanied by white supermacists, membrers of the Ku Klux Klan.”
Biden decried President Trump’s comments that there were “very fine people in both groups,” and said the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton over the weekend echo the Charlottesville tragedy.
“The American people may have run out of tears, but thank God, they haven’t run out of commitment to do something about this,” Biden declared. “Enough from Washington about these people were madmen. This is about anger, white nationalism, unadulterated hate. It has to be rooted out — just ripped out. And the fact of the matter is, it’s not happening. It’s not happening at all.”
Other Democratic presidential candidates who have made visits to heavily-GOP Idaho so far this year include Julián Castro, the former HUD secretary who spoke to a full house at Boise State University on Feb. 26; and former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., who held a meet and greet at a private home in Kimberly on March 24; he’s married to a former Buhl resident, April McClain-Delaney.