The newest member of Idaho’s congressional delegation, GOP 1st District Rep. Russ Fulcher, has been in office for 10 months now. Oddly for me, I haven't spoken with him since January, and not for lack of trying.
When I last spoke with Fulcher, I was interviewing him about his divorce, for a story that was published in the Idaho Press on Jan. 15, 2019. Prior to that, I’d never experienced any problems working with Fulcher, including during his years as chairman of the GOP Caucus for the Idaho Senate, for which he served as the press spokesman.
I was surprised to learn in January that Fulcher and his wife of 32 years had quietly divorced during the congressional campaign, and the news had never come out. Kara Fulcher filed for divorce on Aug. 8, 2018, during the height of the campaign, citing his “acts of adultery” among the grounds, according to the divorce filing, which is public record and was not sealed. The divorce was finalized Sept. 17.
As soon as I got the documents, I interviewed Fulcher, wrote the story and it ran in the Idaho Press. Other news outlets quickly picked it up. I have had numerous other Idaho reporters tell me they wished they’d gotten the story during the campaign. That’s the kind of news that shouldn’t be suppressed during something as major as a congressional campaign, and I do feel that I personally dropped the ball by not having found out about it and reported on it earlier.
Fulcher made it clear at the time that he wished no one would report on the matter, ever. "I’s personal, and it’s painful,” he told me. He said he and his ex-wife had agreed not to talk publicly about it, “for both of our sakes, because it’s personal.”
I certainly didn't anticipate that from that point on, every time I asked him or his press spokeswoman about anything regarding his representation of Idaho in Congress, that I'd be stonewalled. But that's what's happened -- over and over. My calls and emails are ignored, over and over. No explanation is offered.
When I made my September reporting trip to Washington, D.C., I went to great lengths to land an interview with Fulcher, even showing up unannounced at his office -- all to no avail. I did, while I was there, interview every other member of Idaho's congressional delegation, plus an array of other big names in Washington, D.C., including Sens. Marco Rubio, Tim Kaine and Mitt Romney. But I couldn't get in to see Fulcher, the Idaho freshman representative.
I'm not asking him about his divorce. I’m asking him about how he’s representing our state in the nation’s capital. I have contacted his office asking for comment periodically on various matters of current news since January; each time, I get no response. My readers are his constituents. Ten months in, I'm wondering: Isn’t it about time he started responding?
You can read my full column here at idahopress.com, or pick up today's Sunday/Monday edition of the Idaho Press.