The past week saw some staff changes on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan’s campaign, as well as news that she was advising a new federal Political Action Committee. Here’s a condensed timeline:
• Three of Jordan’s top campaign staffers resigned late last week. They said they couldn’t comment because of non-disclosure agreements they had signed. The campaign then released a statement announcing several new hires, saying the departures were part of a planned transition.
• The Idaho Statesman came out Thursday morning with a story quoting former Jordan campaign manager Michael Rosenow’s resignation letter and leaked internal emails. Rosenow said one of the reasons he left was concerns over Jordan’s work advising the Strength and Progress PAC, which was, PAC officials told the Statesman, created earlier this summer “to accept donations from the Coeur d’Alene Tribe ... for spending on Federal First Nations’ issues.” Rosenow said there was too much focus on the PAC and not enough on winning the election. Her interim campaign manager Nate Kelly told the Statesman the PAC was separate from the campaign and there had been no illegal or improper activity — PACs are not allowed to coordinate with campaigns.
• Speaking at the Idaho Falls City Club on Thursday afternoon, Jordan characterized the staff turnover as normal and criticized the Statesman’s coverage. The forum covered plenty of other topics; if you’re reading this online check out the attached story for a summary of the discussion.
• Jordan’s campaign released a photo later Thursday of Rosenow posing with her Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Brad Little, at a Little fundraiser on Aug. 29, calling it “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” according to the Idaho Press. Little says he didn’t know who Rosenow was when the photo was taken.
“The Lt. Governor took many photos with the over 300 people that attended our campaign event on the Basque Block,” said his campaign manager Zach Hauge. “Michael was apparently one of them.”
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen endorsed Jordan. And the Idaho Education Association endorsed U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, the Republican incumbent who is running for re-election against Democratic challenger Aaron Swisher.
Most of the other candidates the IEA has endorsed this year have been Democrats — they’re backing Cindy Wilson for superintendent of public instruction, and Democratic legislative candidates in some races. However, they did contribute to Little’s campaign in the Republican gubernatorial primary.
The IEA and the Idaho School Boards Association also endorsed Proposition 2 this week, the proposal to expand Medicaid to everyone making up to 138 percent of the poverty level.
“Student achievement is the primary goal of our associations’ advocacy for the public education system, and studies show that a population with robust access to health care has increased chances for success,” the two groups said in a statement. “Having a parent or guardian whose health is poor has a direct impact on a student’s opportunities. Decreased academic performance, spotty or intermittent attendance, increased dropout rates, and more serious behavioral problems have an overall negative, long- lasting effect on a student’s cognitive skills and attitudes. Healthy families are essential to a student’s academic success.”
And, the state Democratic Party signed a labor union contract with its staff on Monday, covering its five full-time employees. They are part of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 291, and are one of the few political parties in the country to be so organized. Party leadership recognized the staff as a bargaining unit in October, and negotiations started in January.
“One of the values of the Idaho Democratic Party is the right of workers to unionize,” party Chairman Bert Marley said. “As a party, we feel it’s important to take our values to heart and walk the walk. We are excited to be a part of this historical step forward.”