A former presidential candidate was in Eastern Idaho Wednesday night. Former governor Mitt Romney was in Idaho Falls stumping for Gov. Butch Otter, U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, and Rep. Mike Simpson.
There was a private fundraising at the Hilton Garden Inn earlier in the evening, but another event was held an hour later at Frank VanderSloot's Riverbend Ranch. VanderSloot is the CEO of Melaleuca. It was free and open to the public. Organizers estimate about 250 people came out to hear the candidates and Romney.
Afterwards many people had a chance to meet and shake hands with Risch, Otter, Simpson, and Romney. Robert Schley talked about the impact Romney's endorsement had on him.
"I think I would have voted for them anyway, but I think it says something about Mitt, that he would come out here and take the time, and also it says something about the candidates that he would take the time to come out and support them and come to an event like this," said Schley.
After listening to the speeches by the candidates and Romney, James Hitch said he was encouraged.
"It was all good stuff. Our country is headed in the wrong direction and we need people to move it the right way," said Hitch.
Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz had the chance to ask Romney afterward about his visit to Eastern Idaho and from the Idaho perspective, why the special endorsement of Idaho's current GOP delegation?
"Well, you see in Idaho; a group of conservative leaders that are making a difference in Idaho. I mean, Idaho's unemployment rate is one of the best in the nation. The schools are among the best in the nation. You've got a balanced budget. You've got a good solid conservative governor, but you're also sending people to Washington in the case of Jim Risch and Mike Simpson who believe in conservative principles that work," said Romney.
Kunz asked Romney to grade the national economy and also the current administration's handling of it. He said he would give the economy a C or C+ only because of the help from the private sector and the entrepreneurship of the American people. He would give the administration an F.