In my on-going blog posting about elected officials I've known, worked with and worked against over the years, the list would have to include Mike Simpson - on ALL those levels.
A former Idaho state representative and former Speaker of the Idaho House of Reps, Mike Simpson has been involved in Idaho politics for decades. I first met him in 1991 as he was making his ascent towards Speaker of the House.
The kindest way to say it is that "we put up with each other." I'd bet, he'd agree with such an assessment.
An outwardly affable man on many levels, Simpson's dentistry practice allowed him a patient load that sharpened his people skills. Rather than having a young patient bite him, Dr. Simpson allowed politics to affix its bite. "Dr." gave way to "Rep." And eventually "Speaker" became his title.
He ran for US Congress in the 90's and has had a fairly easy path - every two years, as elections came his way. His title went from "Speaker" to "US Congressman".
Each election cycle was easy-peasy.
Not this year.
He's running this year (in essence) NOT against a candidate - though there IS one on the GOP ballot against him - but against his own record. The folks in DC who know (and have regularly seen) his voting record are called the Club For Growth PAC. And they REALLY don't like what they see in Mike Simpson.
They see a free-spending liberal.... someone who's now more familiar with lobbyist cocktail parties than fellowship meetings in his own LDS ward.
And they're letting his highly conservative Idaho district know about it. (My bride and I reside in his congressional district.)
I just received this mailer today. (Had to put burn lotion on my fingers after retrieving it from the mailbox! Ha) Take a look - it's brutal...and it may be brutally honest. I'll have to do some more research on its bullet points
I know The Club For Growth. I was the very first US Congressional candidate they supported in 2000 when they launched their strategy of attacking opponents due to liberal economic voting patterns.
My guess is that 14 years later, they've determined the true vulnerability of Mike Simpson. He may soon become a laughing stock of his own community.
By the time this primary is over they may be successful in changing perceptions of Mike Simpson, turning him into a goofy caricature of himself, a sort of Homer Simpson, if you will.
However, I hope they stay to the issues.
If the Idaho Tea Party moves in on this race in the GOP Closed Primary, Dr. Simpson may be returning home sooner than he'd planned to once again "hang" his dentist shingle.