Walt Minnick: Wikis


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Walt Minnick

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Idaho's 1st district
Assumed office 
January 3, 2009
Preceded by Bill Sali

Born September 20, 1942 (1942-09-20) (age 67)
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

Walter Clifford "Walt" Minnick (born September 20, 1942) is an American politician from the U.S. state of Idaho currently serving his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Idaho's 1st congressional district. The district is located in the western part of the state, and includes roughly one-fourth of Boise and most of that city's suburbs, such as Meridian and Nampa. It also includes the cities of Lewiston, Moscow and Coeur d'Alene. He is a member of the Democratic Party and is the first Democrat to represent Idaho at the federal level since Larry LaRocco, who represented the 1st for two terms until being swept out in the Republican Revolution of 1994.


Early life and career

Minnick was born in Walla Walla, Washington, and grew up on a wheat farm. He received his bachelor's degree from Whitman College in Walla Walla in 1964 where he participated on the debate team, and was then accepted to the Harvard Business School. After graduating with an MBA in 1966, he entered Harvard Law School, and graduated with a J.D. in 1969. He is a businessman and politician who resides in Boise. A U.S. Veteran who served in Vietnam, he is the former leader of a thriving forestry industry and founder of a chain of retail nurseries.[1][2]

Minnick served as a staff assistant to President Nixon on the White House Domestic Council from 1971-72 and as a deputy assistant director for the Office of Management and Budget from 1972-73. He was also involved in the creation of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Minnick resigned from the administration in October 1973 in protest of the Watergate-era "Saturday Night Massacre" in which Nixon dismissed Attorney General Elliot Richardson, special prosecutor Archibald Cox, and others. Minnick is the only former Nixon administration staff member currently in Congress.[3]

Minnick also served as CEO of TJ International (acquired by Weyerhaeuser in 1999 [3]) and has served on the board of directors of several corporations and non-profit organizations. Prior to his election to Congress, Minnick was the Chairman and CEO of SummerWinds Garden Centers, Inc., in Boise [4].

Political career

Minnick, who long considered himself a political independent, was recruited to run against incumbent Sen. Larry Craig in 1996 by then-Sen. 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 Gov. Cecil D. Andrus.[3]

Minnick won the Democratic nomination in 1996 for the U.S. Senate but was defeated in the general election by Craig.[5] In fact, the last Democrat from Idaho to win a U.S. Senate election was Frank Church, who won his fourth term in 1974 immediately following Watergate. Church failed in his attempt for a fifth term as he was defeated by Steve Symms (R-Idaho) in 1980.

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 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 now represents the third most Republican district in the nation to be held by a Democrat, trailing Mississippi's 4th congressional district and Texas's 17th congressional district; 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.

In Congress

Since taking office Minnick has aligned himself with the centrist Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats.[6] Congressman Minnick voted with the Democratic majority for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 [7], the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 [8], the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act [9], the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act [10], In January 2009, Minnick joined with 10 other Democrats to oppose the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 [11]. In June 2009, Congressman Minnick voted with 43 other Democrats against the American Clean Energy and Security Act [12], and in December 2009, voted with 38 other Democrats against the Affordable Health Care for America Act [13].

Minnick has voted with the Democrats 67.9 percent of the time as of December 2009 [14]. Minnick was the lone Democrat to win a perfect score from the ultra-conservative Club For Growth[15] on their RePork Card ratings, for his efforts to strip pork-barrel spending from bills.[16]


Committee assignments

Electoral History

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


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 – present
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)
Succeeded by


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