This op-ed was written originally for and posted by the local Idaho news site True Idaho News and is being reposted here additionally.
Recently I was able to catch up with America First conservative Brian Lenney, a resident of Nampa, Idaho. Having never run for office before, Lenney recently mounted a seemingly impossible victory for a seat in Idaho’s state senate against an entrenched incumbent “RINO” Republican, Jeff Agenbroad.
I was able to get some insight from Lenney as to why many constituents felt Agenbroad has been a “Republican In Name Only.” I was also able to ask Lenney how he “cracked the code.” Many people ran as alternatives to the status quo in Idaho’s recent primary election, and not all of them won. We have basically come to the conclusion that simply offering an alternative to a so-called “swamp candidate” isn’t enough. One can’t simply toss their name onto a ballot, announce that, “I’m not a RINO,” and then magically take out an entrenched, well-funded, big-government establishment legislator with the snap of a finger.
The Heart of the Campaign
Idahoans have been clamoring for change, but the people, the voters if you will, aren’t just mindless drones. They want to see candidates out there interacting with real people, “kissing babies,” talking with local business owners, and listening to their needs. They also need to be knocking on doors, putting out signs, and posting live streams to social media – assuming the candidate isn’t already banned by big tech for exercising too much free speech.
Lenney did all of the above, plus made a habit of being available on Facebook quite readily for good-faith questions and citizen engagement.
I didn’t want to do a standard video interview. Instead, I wanted to get to know Lenney on a more personal basis and pick his brain a bit. So, we met face-to-face.
Lenney said that his opponent had two opportunities to debate him. Agenbroad didn’t outright “refuse” officially, but was apparently “busy” with other things on both occasions during the primary campaign. In our opinion, it would not be much of a stretch to speculatively wonder if Agenbroad thought he had it in the bag and didn’t “need” to debate anyone to defend his seat. If so, he made a major error drawing such an assumption.
Many people attacked Lenney for his run and questioned where his donations came from, despite the fact that he was far outraised by his opponent – a sitting state senator. Some of the out-of-state donations, Lenney tells us, were simply friends and family from back in California. None of it was shady, all of it was easily identifiable. Lenney also received many individual donations from local residents and small businesses as well.
Grievances Regarding the Incumbent RINO
Some of the grievances Lenney mentioned that he or his supporters had with Agenbroad included:
SB1193: Lenney says, “Agenbroad supported this bill in an 18-17 vote to spend large sums of money (nearly six million dollars) that supports what some see as left-wing propaganda for children aged 0-5.” The Idaho Education Association also supported this bill.
SB1204. Agenbroad supported the rampant spending of American Rescue Plan funds, extending the nation’s debt trillions of more dollars. This would be money that current Americans could never repay, it would be set on the shoulders of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
SB1185, Agenbroad supported an expansion of Medicaid by $3.7 billion. Lenney told us: “Money can’t buy a better state, but it can sure break one.” He went on to say that “Idaho is not just left vs. right, but statism vs. regular citizens.”
Another question I asked Lenney was about the recent decision by the Nampa City School Board to ban certain books they considered to be unsuitable for children and in some cases potentially pornographic in nature. Many leftists have attacked the school board for this decision. Even a local coffee shop chain in the area will be hosting a “Stick it to the Ban” book giveaway orchestrated by a Boise Book store offering banned books to citizens for free should they want them.
Lenney told us that legally they have a right to do that, but he still supports the ban in the school system that was implemented, in part, by some newly elected conservative school board members. He agreed with the statement that despite liberals calling conservatives every name under the sun for banning books, it’s not about being radical. It’s about getting rid of the left’s radical agenda of child sexualization.
With the left calling the right names in an instance like this, or comparing the action to “Nazi Germany” (which is ridiculous), they are simply projecting their own radicalism onto conservatives who want to keep things in schools appropriate for children.
When asked how Lenney feels about wiping the floor with the establishment’s pick, he said he’s not interested in spiking the football, so to speak. He said he will have lots of work to do in representing those who put him in office and that is where his time and energy will be best spent. Legislation on health freedom that has real teeth and isn’t watered down, education freedom, and much more will be on Lenney’s agenda.
Thoughts About His Opponent – and The Future
Lenney did have this to say about his former opponent: “One of the last things Jeff did was he voted for $11 million dollars to remodel state lawmakers’ offices while we the people got no significant tax relief.”
Lenney mentioned that left-leaning and mainstream news outlets have not been too friendly towards him lately. He feels some of them have been disingenuous, that they cherry-picked his statements, and implied that somehow he did not run a clean campaign, which Lenney feels he most definitely did. He said he stuck to attacking people’s politics, not the people themselves.
No Democrat is running in Lenney’s district for the general election in November, so Lenney is expected to slide right into the District 13 State Senator’s seat in a few months. We will do our best to follow up and see how Lenney does in his new position.