Candidates Become Contentious In Idaho Republican State Senate Race

Don Martin comments
| Politics

Having observed the Republican race for the District 1 State Senate seat from Boise, I have developed grave concerns about the character of one of the District 1 State Senate candidates as evidenced from her Facebook interactions and candidate forum behavior this election season. Danielle Ahrens has apparently believed some lies about opponent Scott Herndon and is propagating some untruths as if they were true, and she has become disrespectful also of opponent Jim Woodward in a way that says something of Ms. Ahrens’ lack of character.

Untruths, Falsehoods

Let's first look at her descriptions of Mr. Woodward, since they are simpler. Presumably because Woodward has raised money by PACs, some based out of Boise, Ms. Ahrens has been observed referring to Mr. Woodward as “Boise Boy” as seen in the below screenshot, which is interesting because it is Ms. Ahrens herself who has probably spent more time in Boise.

In the above screenshot, note that Ms. Ahrens states that all of her campaign funds have been from local friends and family. Interestingly, I looked at Ms. Ahrens recent financial disclosure report at the Idaho Secretary of State’s website, with contributions as of 4/29/18. There are no significant contributions reported of $1,000 except from Ms. Ahrens herself.

Yet, a disclosure by Idaho Chooses Life shows that they gave Ms. Ahrens $1,000 on April 20, 2018. Why was this not disclosed on her campaign finance report? Can we trust her with the responsibility of state government when she cannot even accurately disclose the most significant contribution to her campaign from a Boise PAC?

In regards to her opponent Scott Herndon, she has propagated several falsehoods, which I will enumerate and refute in order. The first is that she says Mr. Herndon advocates specifically for the death penalty for women who get abortions and anyone associated with abortions. Mr. Herndon refuted this claim at a forum in Sandpoint, which Ms. Ahrens claims to have watched (since she did not show up for the forum in which she was supposed to participate), yet she continues to propagate the falsehood.

The only problem with the assertion of candidate Ahrens regarding Mr. Herndon’s position is that Mr. Herndon stated quite clearly to the contrary that he is not advocating for the death penalty for men and women involved in abortion. Mr. Herndon actually only advocates that abortion be treated with equity in law the same as any other murder, and he cites as an example the 2012 case of Priest River resident Jeremy Swanson who killed his pregnant wife and was charged with two cases of first degree murder for her killing and that of their preborn baby.

Yet, if his wife had killed the same baby in an abortion, Idaho code unfairly prohibits her prosecution.

If It's One of 'Em, It's All of 'Em

Ms. Ahrens’ second effort at besmirching her own character is when she showed a screenshot by a nephew of Scott Herndon, in which the young nephew gave an opinion that women should not serve in elected office. I happen to know that Scott Herndon doesn’t and has never agreed with this particular view of the young nephew. In fact, Scott Herndon is a strong supporter of many women in political office, including Heather Scott, Priscilla Giddings, Christy Zito and Karey Hanks, all women in the Idaho House of Representatives.

That didn’t stop Danielle Ahrens from claiming the following on Facebook on April 29, 2018:

So, because one non-nuclear member of the family, who is not her opponent, states a view, suddenly Ms. Ahrens claims the whole “Herndon clan” holds the view? I’d like to inform Ms. Ahrens that one member of a family does not meet the definition of “clan”, and none of the other Herndons I know share this particular view. I question the judgment and character of Ms. Ahrens for jumping to this quick, unfounded, and now refuted accusation. Now, one may forgive Ms. Ahrens one transgression on this subject if she repented and moved on, but in fact she continues to propagate the false allegation against Scott Herndon in her own public Facebook post:

Then, even as of just a few days before the primary, she continues with the false allegation against SCOTT Herndon regarding women serving in government by commenting to the brother of Scott Herndon in the following Facebook comment:

As a side note, in the above screen shot, she basically is saying that Scott Herndon filing his senate candidacy in February during candidate filing is only going to “split the vote”. Though she claims to be a good, faithful Republican, perhaps she ought to re-read the Idaho GOP platform, where it states:

ARTICLE II. Citizen Involvement in Government

“The Idaho Republican Party believes that government works best when its citizens become actively involved. The Party encourages all citizens to engage in healthy debate on all issues that will increase citizen control of government.

Sec. 1 We encourage all citizens to educate themselves in constitutional government and to be full participants in the political process.

Sec. 2 We seek to heighten the level of discourse by encouraging all office holders, candidates and citizens to be civil, dignified, honest and forthright in their discussions, actions, statements and political processes. This includes the actions of special interest groups who provide support for or against any

Idaho candidate.”

So, Scott Herndon is actively participating in the political process by running for office, and Ms. Ahrens opposes that? And, by publicly proclaiming falsehoods against Mr. Herndon, is Ms. Ahrens upholding Section 2 of this article of the platform?

It's a Trap!

A third concern with Ms. Ahrens arose when she did not participate (after agreeing to participate) in a senate debate that was organized by KYMS for April 14, 2018. She and candidate Woodward both said they would be there, but then both failed to show without notifying the organizer. That is a breach of common courtesy and is a violation of her commitment. One could forgive her if she truly just could not make it due to mechanical issues or an emergency, but at another public forum just a few days later, when asked about the no-show, she said that she was advised the debate was a set-up, and she cast aspersions against the character of the organizer of the debate, Lee Lancaster, owner of KYMS radio. You can see that interaction in the following video:

Now, as far as we know, Ms. Ahrens does not even know Mr. Lancaster, and how is this for behavior toward an honorable Idahoan from state senate candidate Ahrens?

Or is It All a Scam?

The final complaint against Ms. Ahrens, just days out from the primary election, is that upon the Facebook wall of a district constituent on May 10, she raised the accusation of cronyism (without any supporting evidence) against candidate Herndon. She implied that because Scott Herndon favors the constitutional audit and business practice audits of state government, that as a senator, he is going to funnel state contracts to his brother, a CPA.  

Apparently, Ms. Ahrens has not been paying attention to the platform of her opponent Mr. Herndon. The audits he is proposing have nothing to do with accounting and CPA’s. Rather, Mr. Herndon has been on record for months, proposing that the Legislative Services Office, an office of the state legislature and considered an independent auditor in relation to the executive branch, add the responsibility for annually checking for where the state of Idaho is violating its own constitution or statutes in the conducting of state business.

Additionally, Mr. Herndon recommends an independent watchdog that compares the business practices of government, which has no competition, to the business practices of private industry. These audits would theoretically result in recommendations for government to operate more efficiently and at a lower cost. Here is the screenshot from Ms. Ahrens in which she alleged potential cronyism. Keep in mind, she has never even met District 1 resident Paul Herndon:

Above are all reasons I could not vote for Danielle Ahrens for State Senate if I lived in District 1. We need a candidate who is above reproach as far as propagating misinformation against opponents in order to attain victory in the election. In a final screenshot, it is possible it is revealed why Ms. Ahrens has stooped to this reprehensible behavior:

Even if this is a valid concern of Ms. Ahrens, it is no excuse for acting in a desperate and immoral manner. It is unfortunate that Ms. Ahrens has not maintained moral and honest behavior in this campaign.


Don Martin

Don Martin and his wife Shellie live in Boise, Idaho. Long-time Republicans, they are active members of a local church and are active in ministry in their community. Don is the owner of a truck brokerage business. He and his wife have become increasingly active in Idaho conservative and constitutional politics.