BOISE -- House Minority Leader John Rusche says his campaign sent out political mailers boasting that a free-market think tank ranked him as one of the most conservative Democratic lawmakers in the state.

However, the mailer does not mention that the Idaho Freedom Foundation gave Rusche an F- this year.

The foundation releases its ranking of Idaho's 105 lawmakers every year. Legislators are docked for approving any bills that the groups perceives as growing government, raising taxes or restricting free market practices.

Rusche said Tuesday that he's openly critical of the foundation, but added that a Democrat in Idaho can't describe himself as liberal if he wants to win.

Rusche is running in one of the toughest legislative races in Idaho against Republican challenger Mike Kingsley -who was just 48 votes shy of ousting Rusche in 2014.