Idaho Group against racing initiative

The group is against an initiative that would be included on the November ballot.

US.- The “Idaho United Against Prop. 1”, a new coalition in the state, has emerged as a political action committee and launched media commercials against a racing initiative that would be included on the November ballot.

Garden City Mayor John Evans, coalition member, said: “It’s not really about racing, in my view. It’s about expanding gambling for a private profit-making company. And they’re blaming the Legislature for the demise of horse racing, when the struggles live horse racing has is really a competitive entertainment market that’s just accelerated with the technological age we’re in now.”

Idaho’s current campaign finance laws establish that groups don’t need to disclose their funders until October 10th. However, it is known that the group is chaired by former state Representative Ken Andrus, R-L, and its treasurer is Ernie Stensgar, chairman of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe in North Idaho.

A television ad that was launched statewide this week focuses on the initiative’s sponsors, which are former operators of Les Bois Park, a former greyhound dog racetrack. The coalition argues that the proponents are pretending to be interested in horse racing, but are actually focused on machines, banned from the state in 2015.

Local media pointed out that the ad is highly misleading as it suggests that the initiative “allows an unlimited number of machines and casinos at horse and dog tracks across Idaho, even if no racing is taking place.”

Jaclyn Kettler, a Boise State University political scientist, said, “It is interesting, in a campaign ad criticizing the other side for inaccurate and misleading statements, to then also perhaps have a misleading statement in their own ad.”

Andrus added: “The state Racing Commission would be in charge of allowing new tracks and setting race days,” he said. “They have never been a check against the people pushing this measure, and we don’t expect them to do so if it passes.”

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