TWIN FALLS • Well, that’s one way to launch a campaign.
Buhl resident Jack Wayne Chappell announced his intent to run as a write-in candidate for Congress, with a press release implying he wants to shoot Congressman Mike Simpson.
In the lengthy announcement, Chappell acknowledges his bid is less about politics and more about publicity, though he did have criticisms for Simpson.
He ended with this: “So here’s the famous original quote, Mike, written especially for you. To wit: ‘You can’t even be a duck in this world without somebody wanting to shoot you.’”
Chappell ran against Nicole LeFavour in the May Democratic primary, calling his campaign a “political cartoon” and acknowledging that he ran mostly to drum up support for Simpson primary challenger Chick Heileson. LeFavour won with 84 percent of the vote.
On Tuesday, Simpson communications director Nikki Watts said she hadn’t yet spoken to her boss, but said she didn’t think Simpson would take Chappell’s words seriously.
“If you are so paranoid about references to shooting ducks, you are living in the wrong state,” Chappell wrote in emails to the Times-News.
“How you could remotely construe a humorous remark like, ‘You can’t even be a duck in this world without somebody wanting to shoot you’ as a veiled threat from a political crackpot shows not only that you lack any trace of a sense of humor, it also indicates that you have no regard for the First Amendment.”
But references to shooting elected officials aren’t taken lightly. In 2009, gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell drew criticism from fellow Republicans after joking about “Obama tags” at a campaign rally.
In 2011, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was injured in a shooting that left six people dead and 13 injured.