Sali urged third-party candidates to drop out

Rep. Bill Sali (R) was among several local GOP officials to ask three candidates running for Sen. Larry Craig’s (R) seat to bow out of the race, according to local reports.

The candidates — Libertarian Kent Marmon, Independent Rex Rammell and a Constitution Party candidate who changed his name to “Pro-Life” — were contacted by phone and urged to make an early exit in order to help Republican candidate Lt. Gov. Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischIssa's Senate confirmation hearing delayed over concerns about background check Overnight Defense: GOP wary of action on Iran | Pence says US 'locked and loaded' to defend allies | Iran's leader rules out talks with US Republicans wary of US action on Iran MORE.

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Marmon told local television station KTVB that he was urged to leave the race because his candidacy could help Democratic nominee, former Rep. Larry LaRocco, by drawing votes away from Risch.

Sali’s spokesman Wayne Hoffman said in a statement that the calls were not personal by any means, and were only meant as a political measure to help the GOP’s chances in the race.

“This isn’t about them [the other candidates],” Hoffman told The Idaho Statesman. “This is about the Democrats trying to use the number of people on the ballot to their advantage.”