The newly-released campaign finance reports show that Democrat Walt Minnick had a fundraising event in San Francisco, the hometown of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The event, held in late June, did not feature an appearance from Pelosi, who Republicans in Idaho have sought to tie to Minnick. Campaign staffers say the event was a collection of private individuals and former business contacts of Minnick's, while aides for his opponent, Republican Raul Labrador, say the event was full of Pelosi supporters.
John Foster, spokesman for the Minnick campaign, said that the event, which took place around the third week of June, didn't feature Pelosi because the speaker was busy that night with a fundraiser of her own. "She did her thing and we did ours, and that's how it usually goes," Foster said. He also pointed out that several of the donors in the room contributed to the presidential campaigns of Republicans Rudy Giuliani and John McCain.
Pelosi's absence was confirmed by Joan Boothe, a San Francisco resident and a Minnick supporter who provided food services to his campaign for the event. "It had nothing to do with any bay area legislators," Boothe told IdahoReporter.com. The Boothes are listed as giving several thousand dollars of in-kind donations of food and beverage to the Minnick campaign. Foster also confirmed that Minnick was the only member of Congress in attendance.
Staffers for Labrador's campaign contend that donors at the event were supporters of Pelosi. “It’s no surprise that after voting for her to become speaker, Minnick goes to her hometown and raises money from her friends,” said China Veldhouse Gum, acting spokesperson for the Labrador campaign. “He will need every penny of that money to defend his vote for her.”
Labrador's campaign has centered on tying Minnick to Pelosi. "Make a contribution TODAY & send a message to Obama, Pelosi & Minnick-Idaho will not tolerate their liberal agenda," was a recent message posted to Labrador's Twitter account. In a speech before the Idaho Republican Party at its state convention in late June, Labrador somewhat moved away from that line of reasoning, saying that no matter who Minnick supports for speaker of the House next January, that person will still be a Democrat if that party is able to retain a majority in Congress. "It does not matter who he votes for; you will still have a Democrat as speaker and you will still have Democrats heading committees in the House," Labrador told delegates at the state convention.