Printed on: October 04, 2012

Cronin says Luna grabbed his arm

By Dan Popkey
Idaho Statesman

Rep. Brian Cronin said Superintendent Tom Luna "forcefully" grabbed his arm, spilling a glass of water, and swore at him during Tuesday's debate in Boise.

Later, Luna said he complained that Cronin used "a lot of personal attacks" in his opening speech.

Cronin called Luna's remarks "vulgar." Pressed to elaborate, Cronin said, "He said, 'That's the biggest bunch of bull-- I ever heard. I can't believe you said that.'"

Asked whether he used vulgarity, Luna said: "No. No. I'm just not going to go there because you will not report this fairly. We had a private conversation. I'll leave it at that."

Cronin told the Idaho Statesman: "I don't have any reason to make this up. It was one of the most unsettling moments I've ever experienced in politics."

Later, in a written statement, Luna said, "I leaned over to him and said something to the effect that I was surprised he would resort to these personal attacks while I tried to keep my remarks about the issues."

Luna continued: "I tried to explain my point of view on the issues. He responded that this is a 'contact sport' and that he feels he has been personally attacked in the newspapers."

Cronin confirmed making the "contact sport" remark.

The Boise Democrat has been criticized for completing the final months of his legislative term while working as a paid consultant to fight Propositions 1, 2 and 3.