That sound you just heard? That was the sound of a GOP congressional hopeful's campaign being flushed. It's hard to see how a candidate recovers from the week that Vaughn Ward has just had. Once the front-runner in the Republican primary to challenge Congressman Walt Minnick for Idaho's 1st Congressional District seat, Ward's campaign has all but handed the primary to State Rep. Raul Labrador, despite Ward's dominant fund-raising advantage and prominent national and state endorsements.
Ward's latest faux pas, reported late this morning, is that he failed to pay his property taxes on time and apparently overstated the value of the property on disclosure statements. That came after the early morning revelation that the U.S. Marine Corps has asked Ward to remove an ad that failed to comply with regulations prohibiting use of information and images that may imply endorsement by the military.
This very bad week began Thursday when it was reported that Ward, who had made railing against government bailouts a centerpiece of his campaign, was being supported, while he campaigned full time, by his wife who worked for the bailed-out, government-backed mortgage giant, Fannie Mae. The week only got worse Saturday with the additional news that he failed to include his wife's assets on his financial disclosure.
A befuddled Ward has countered with arguments ranging from absurd to laughable, including:
- contending he must be a serious threat to Minnick to merit such media scrutiny,
- Republican lawyers vetted his disclosure,
- he has to comply with new rules every quarter,
- he doesn't know what the wives of Senators Crapo and Risch do,
- his family did not benefit from the taxpayer money invested in Fannie Mae and
- he doesn't need to sell the Marine Corps.
Not to mention other gems like, government jobs aren't real jobs and a GOP failure to take Congress in November means every fighter in American history has died in vain. At this rate he'll make Bill Sali look like a paragon of sanity in no time.
If this is the product of Republican Party grooming, perhaps we don't need any.