What to Celebrate

Nicole-field-good-crop-smEight months ago, standing in the statehouse considering whether to run for Congress, I figured I could run a good
campaign. What's amazing is that, together with thousands of you, my team ran the best campaign many have
ever seen run in Idaho. Stronger, better organized, more tech savvy, more deeply rooted in communities and more issue-focused than I could have imagined.


Thirty-five percent of the vote. While that sounds dismal, it still means more than 110,000 voters chose me over Mike Simpson on Tuesday. I think that's ten thousand more votes in the east half of the state than any democrat in any congressional or statewide race has ever gotten. And in spite of how LDS enthusiasm for Mitt Romney made this one of the most difficult possible years to run as a Democrat in Idaho, it appears that our campaign brought in about 25,000 new voters to participate in this election. That's an impressive twenty-five thousand people who did not vote in the 2008 presidential race.

We engaged Idaho's powerful Hispanic community and worked so hard that Mike Simpson gained fewer than 2,000 votes from the Romney tide. In fact thousands of LDS men and women and more than 10,000 Republicans and Independents voted for me. That was the work we all did on the phones and the doors –and it mattered.


More than anything, you all allowed me to finally have the resources to use TV and direct mail to push back on issues we so rarely get to re-define here in Idaho. I'm proud we exposed the attitudes that have led to Idaho's grim record on fair pay for women and the kind of cowardice that allowed passage of the Luna laws. We also changed the debate on budget cuts by focusing on job loss, and
explained who the job creators really are in the economy and why.

And last but not least, we've put to rest the question of whether Idahoans will actually vote for a gay person.


I feel profoundly grateful to you all. From the unemployed carpenter who gave me four dollars, to the Republican mothers,
fathers and working people who've crossed streets and sent email to tell me they
voted for me. From the long hours and tremendous heart, hard work and intelligence of my staff and volunteers, to the sense that so many of you gave your time and money because this work is something you believe in.

This has been the most amazing experience of my life. We've made history. Idaho needs us all to keep talking to neighbors over picket fences in our communities, volunteering to organize other volunteers, raising money or using phone calls to change minds on the issues we care about — perhaps to strengthen political organizations and non-profits, to run campaigns or, for many of you, to run for office yourselves.


I have no idea what I'm doing next but I love this state. Sadly, Idaho has failed so many families who've faced hardship these past years, those who've lost jobs and homes or small businesses; those who've waited so long for respect and dignity or legal status; those who strive for simple security or the tools for independence; those who struggle to pay for a college degree or just to put a meal on the table.

The work is not over. What you all have done is so beautiful. Many of you came to this because you care and believe Idaho and its policy makers can do better. Lives depend on all of us using our skills to motivate friends to challenge our Idaho Congressmen, state lawmakers and local officials when policies become cruel or disrespectful.

For the lives and futures of people we care about, let's carry with us what we did this year and make this congressional campaign not an end, but a beginning.


Thank you. Idaho, you continue to amaze me.



When I filed to run for office in March, I couldn't have
imagined what beautiful things I'd see in this state, in its people, in
the generosity and passion and kindness so many have shown me. Every
day I am humbled by how much people give to this campaign. I am humbled
by the words of encouragement from people I pass on the street, by
people who open their doors to talk about issues they care about, by
students who come and spend spare hours on phones talking to strangers
about me and what matters this election.

I'm humbled by those who gave time or any amount of money to keep
this campaign strong so that we've been able to open offices across the
district in Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Twin Falls. A few days ago we
reached an important marking point. We exceeded the amount raised by all
the Democratic challengers to Mike Simpson combined. And it will take
that and more to win on November 6. But it is an important marking
point and it shows why some of us have faith in what's possible in this
state. It also shows how serious this campaign is.

We have so much to celebrate today. We have met goals I wasn't sure
I'd be able to meet. It will take a few days to count but with the mail,
the credit card donations and pledges into our offices, we think we
will exceed what we thought possible for yesterdays deadline. Amazing.

I look around and every day I'm astounded by the creativity and hard
work of my staff and particularly the field team, and the solid
leadership of Ryan Hill, the let's get this done brilliance of Rialin
Flores my finance director and the many of you who have talked to others
or raised funds for me these past months by hosting house parties or
calling and asking friends to give.

We have a month more now to raise what it will take to buy television
and the last of our mail. So no, it's not over. I have more weeks of
torturing you all with my asks for donations.

But last night proved we can do this. The total fundraising goal of
our plan is within reach now. With new donors, more house parties, more
generosity and creativity and passion, I know now that I can raise what
it takes and run the kind of campaign it will take to win on November
6th — to become Idaho's next Congresswoman. Thanks to you, I can say I
know this now.

To all those willing to work hard for what matters to them, my deepest deepest thanks, You just continue to amaze me. 

Just 5 weeks left. For me, no resting. Back to work. Again, thank you.



You can buy TV Ads here: https://secure.actblue.com/page/nicole-on-tv



Leadership in Flux

Legislative Council has assembled around the big wooden table in the Senate Republican Caucus room in the top of the statehouse. The showing is sparse. Missing are the members leaving us whose terms end a month from now. In December we will be sworn in again and joined by six new senators and twelve newly elected house members. That is not unprecedented change. Compared to other states, Idaho simply stayed its red self. Interestingly we stand now at the same numbers we had six years ago when I was first elected to the house.

Legislative Council is an ongoing committee made up of Democratic and Republican leadership plus members elected by their caucus to serve in overseeing policy, procedure and the general workings of both houses. We discuss everything from whether the dining room will welcome the public, to whether committee secretaries will be detailed or vague in writing up the minutes of legislative committee meetings.

This is my fourth year on Legislative Council. I've looked around in the past and realized that the committee has been used at times as a consolation prize for members not elected to leadership positions in their respective caucuses.

And it's that time again. Leadership elections. Speaker in the House, Pro-Tem in the Senate, in both houses a Majority Leader, Assistant Majority Leader, Caucus Chair, Minority Leader, Assistant Minority Leader & Minority Caucus Chair.

Already the Pro Tem is telling people to save Friday morning after our one day December organizational session and swearing in just in case leadership races get drawn out. This year with the surge of far right or tea party Republicans one can expect some leadership challenges within the two Republican Caucuses. Never mind that, in the House, Majority Leader Mike Moyle is rumored to be taking on Speaker Denny.

Last time we had a serious Speaker's race, after Bruce Newcomb retired as Speaker of the House, committee chairships changed, new people were given JFAC seats and the tone and feel of the legislature turned from a moderate and congenial place to an often far more difficult and contentious one.

I am holding my breath about the Senate. Some say that with the final numbers there will be enough relative moderates to keep the Senate from radical change.

This year, for Democrats, members of leadership retired in both the House and Senate. New leaders will be elected from among those not serving on the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee. In the Senate in our tiny seven member Democratic caucus with two JFAC members and three leadership positions, our choices are a bit less wide ranging than in the House. We have some pretty wide ranging personalities though.

Sunday, across the state, we legislators will pack our bags for the Northern Idaho Legislative Tour which always follows on the heels of the election. We will travel and mingle for three days getting to know new members and discussing legislative ideas. Both parties will hold caucuses to begin to brooch the topic of leadership races. We will know then who will run and begin to contemplate the temperaments, the strengths, weaknesses and personalities that will shape our lives and policy in the next two sessions and possibly in many more to come.