Idaho Lawmaker To Challenge Governor In Primary

By Scott Graf

Idaho’s Republican governor, Butch Otter, will have a primary challenger in his race for a third term. A prominent member of the state Senate officially launched his campaign over the weekend. Republican Russ Fulcher announced his candidacy Saturday with an event in a hotel convention room in his hometown of Meridian, a Boise suburb. He announced his run after spending several weeks this fall traveling the state to meet with voters.

Fulcher is a five term state senator. He’s painting himself as more conservative than Otter, a notion some Republicans think he’ll have a hard time doing. A cornerstone of Fulcher’s campaign is Otter’s push for a state-run health insurance exchange as part of Obamacare. Otter has always been a critic of the Affordable Care Act, but said last winter with a state-run exchange, at least Idaho would have some control. Fulcher says it’s a sign that Idaho is too reliant on the federal government.

Valerie James was among those who attended Fuclher’s event Saturday. She’s voted for Otter and even campaigned for him. But she says she now thinks he’s lost his way. She says “I don’t know if he’s been there too long, if he has really terrible advisors or gotten too old. I have no idea. But I’m done. I am done with Otter.”

Fulcher and Otter will square off in a May primary. Idaho is among the reddest states in the nation, so the winner is likely to win the general election next November.

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