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Walt Minnick

Walt Minnick
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Idaho's 1st district
In office
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Bill Sali
Succeeded by Raúl Labrador
Personal details
Born (1942-09-20) September 20, 1942
Walla Walla, Washington
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) A. K. Lienhart-Minnick
Residence Boise, Idaho
Alma mater Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Harvard Business School (MBA)
Whitman College (B.A.)
Profession Businessman, Attorney, Politician
Religion Unitarian Universalist
Website former official website of U.S. House of Representatives Office of Walt Minnick

Walter Clifford "Walt" Minnick (born September 20, 1942) is a former Representative for Idaho's 1st congressional district, serving from 2009 until 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

The district is in the western part of the state, and includes roughly one-fourth of Boise and most of its suburbs, as well as Meridian and Nampa. It also includes the cities of Lewiston, Moscow and Coeur d'Alene.

Minnick was defeated by Raúl Labrador in the November 2010 election,[1] and now works for lobbying firm The Majority Group.[2][3]


  • Early life, education and career 1
  • Early political career 2
  • U.S. House of Representatives 3
    • Elections 3.1
      • 2008 3.1.1
      • 2010 3.1.2
    • Tenure 3.2
    • Committee assignments 3.3
  • Electoral history 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life, education and career

Minnick was born in Walla Walla, Washington, and grew up on a wheat farm. In 1964 he received his bachelor's degree from Whitman College, where he was on the debate team, and was then accepted by Harvard Business School. After graduating with an MBA in 1966, he entered Harvard Law School, and graduated with a J.D. in 1969.

A veteran who served in the Army and Pentagon during the Vietnam War, he is the former leader of a forestry industry and founder of a chain of retail nurseries, SummerWinds Garden Centers.[4][5] Minnick also served as CEO of TJ International (acquired by Weyerhaeuser in 1999[6]) and has served on the board of directors of several corporations and nonprofit organizations.

Early political career

Minnick served as a staff assistant to President Richard Nixon on the White House Domestic Council from 1971 to 1972 and as a deputy assistant director for the Office of Management and Budget from 1972 to 1973. He was also involved in the creation of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Minnick resigned from the administration in October 1973 in protest of the Watergate-era "Saturday Night Massacre" in which Nixon dismissed United States Attorney General Elliot Richardson, special prosecutor Archibald Cox, and others.[7] Minnick is a businessman and politician who resides in Boise.

Minnick, who long considered himself a political Independent, was recruited to run against incumbent Republican Senator Larry Craig in the 1996 Senate election in Idaho by then-Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska. Although Minnick originally intended to enter the race as an Independent, he was convinced to run as a Democrat by former Idaho Governor Cecil D. Andrus.[8] Minnick lost the race by 283,532 votes (57.02%) to 198,422 (39.91%).[9]

U.S. House of Representatives



Minnick ran unopposed in the 2008 Democratic primary held in late May. An expected primary challenge by 2006 nominee Larry Grant was averted when Grant withdrew from the race and endorsed Minnick the previous month. Although the 1st is a heavily Republican district, Democrats thought they had a realistic chance of winning the district because the Republican incumbent, Bill Sali, had been a lightning rod for controversy.

In the November 4, 2008 general election, Minnick narrowly defeated Sali, taking 50.6 percent of the vote to Sali's 49.4 percent. While Minnick carried only seven of the district's 18 counties, he prevailed largely by winning Ada County, home to Boise and more than two-thirds of the district's vote, by 4,000 votes. With his victory, Minnick represented the third most Republican district in the nation to be held by a Democrat and he became the first Democrat to represent Idaho at the federal level since Larry LaRocco, who represented the 1st District for two terms until the 1994 elections. The district has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+18. John McCain easily carried the district with over 60 percent of the vote in 2008.


Minnick was the only Democrat endorsed by the Tea Party.[10] Minnick was challenged by Republican state Representative Raúl Labrador, Libertarian Mike Washburn and Independent Dave Olson. Labrador defeated him by a 51-41 margin in the November 2nd election.


After taking office, Minnick joined the Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats.[11] He voted with his party 71% of the time.[12][13]

In January 2009, Minnick joined with 10 other Democrats to oppose the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.[14] In June 2009, Congressman Minnick voted with 43 other Democrats against the American Clean Energy and Security Act,[15] and in December 2009, voted with 38 other Democrats against the Affordable Health Care for America Act.[16] Minnick was the lone Democrat to receive a perfect score from the Club for Growth on their RePork Card ratings, for his votes to cut spending in Congress.[17]

Minnick voted against the Stupak–Pitts Amendment which proposed to put restrictions on federal funds "to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion" except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother.[18] On March 21, 2010, Minnick voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that President Barack Obama signed into law on March 23, 2010.[19] Minnick said that there is very little cost control in the bill."[20]

Minnick voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009,[21] the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009,[22] the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act,[23] the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act,[24] and against establishing spending caps through fiscal year 2014.[25]

Committee assignments

Electoral history

2010 Election for U.S. Representative of Idaho’s 1st Congressional District
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Raúl Labrador 126,231 51.0
Democratic Walt Minnick (incumbent) 102,135 41.3
Independent Dave Olson 14,365 5.8
Libertarian Mike Washburn 4,696 1.9
2008 Election for U.S. Representative of Idaho’s 1st Congressional District
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Walt Minnick 175,567 50.61
Republican Bill Sali (incumbent) 171,324 49.39
1996 Election for U.S. Senate
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Larry Craig (incumbent) 283,532 57.02
Democratic Walt Minnick 198,422 39.91
Independent Mary J. Charbonneau 10,137 2.04
Natural Law Susan Vegors 5,142 1.03

See also


  1. ^ Idaho Democrat Minnick's defeat turns red state redder
  2. ^ The Majority Group (2011). Walt Minnick. Retrieved May 16, 2011.
  3. ^ (2011). Former Blue Dogs find lobby deals. Retrieved May 16, 2011.
  4. ^ Minnick overcomes tight race, beats Sali. Associated Press. 18 December 2008.
  5. ^ Meyer, Greg. Minnick brings out a heavy hitter, KLEW-TV, November 14, 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2008.
  6. ^ Timber giant to buy TJ Intl. CNN Money. 23 November 1999.
  7. ^ Abruzzese, Sarah. "Rep. Walt Minnick Offers a One-Termer's Perspective." The New York Times. Dec. 13, 2010.
  8. ^ Broder, David S. Tales From Longworth. The Washington Post. 8 January 2009.
  9. ^ United States Senate election in Idaho, 1996
  10. ^ "Walt Minnick: The Tea Party's 'token Democrat'?" The Week. April 22, 2010
  11. ^ Blue Dog Coalition Members
  12. ^ Rep. Walt Minnick, Idaho (D) OpenCongress.
  13. ^ Members of Congress / Walt Minnick Washington Post U.S. Congress Votes Database. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  15. ^ FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 477 (American Clean Energy and Security Act)
  16. ^ FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 887 (Affordable Health Care for America Act)
  17. ^ Cadei, Emily. Minnick Earns Perfect Score on 'RePork Card' CQ Politics. 13 August 2009.
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ http://www.idahoreporter.con/2010/minnick-says-health-care-will-be-congressional-issue-for-next-decade/
  21. ^ FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 37 (Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009)
  22. ^ FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 104 (Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009)
  23. ^ FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 187 (Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act)
  24. ^ FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 223 (Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act)
  25. ^ FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 610. Retrieved March 22, 2010.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bill Sali
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Idaho's 1st congressional district

January 3, 2009 - January 3, 2011
Succeeded by
Raúl Labrador
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ron J. Twilegar
Democratic Party nominee, U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Idaho
1996 (lost)
Succeeded by
Alan Blinken
Preceded by
Larry Grant
Democratic Party nominee, Idaho's 1st congressional district
2008 (won), 2010 (lost)
Succeeded by
Jimmy Farris
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