Attorney Larry Grant (D), who came within 5 points of beating now-Rep. Bill Sali (R) in the 2006 race for the open 1st district seat, has dropped his plans for a rematch and left businessman Walt Minnick with a clear path to the Democratic nomination in the May 27 primary.
The 1st district is solid Republican territory — President Bush won the district with 69 percent of the vote in 2004 — and Sali should be well-positioned for a second term. But Democrats are thinking upset, as Sali has proven to be a weak fundraiser and is facing a Republican primary challenge from Iraq War veteran Matt Salisbury.
“There isn’t 10 cents worth of difference between my view of the world and Walt Minnick’s. That’s why we need to be working together to beat Bill Sali, not spending valuable time and resources in a contentious primary,” Grant said, according to a press release put out by his campaign. “Bill Sali is one of the most ineffective and embarrassing Congressmen we have ever had.”
Minnick, who spent more than $900,000 of his own money on a losing Senate bid in 1996, closed the first quarter of this year with $328,000 on hand and no debt. Sali’s Federal Election Commission report for the same period shows $124,000 on hand and $145,000 in debt.
Salisbury’s first-quarter filing was unavailable at press time. He reported just $5,000 on hand as of Dec. 31.