Idaho Lieutenant Governor Race: Who's Running And How Are Their Finances?

Aug 3, 2017

So far, five GOP candidates have announced their bids to be Idaho's next lieutenant governor. Boise State Professor Justin Vaughn says even more contenders may throw their hats in the ring.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

So far, five Republican candidates are jockeying to be Idaho's next lieutenant governor. We have a look at the candidates, the job and the latest financial numbers from their campaigns.

The post of lieutenant governor is part time, relatively low paid and apparently one of the most coveted seats in the Gem State. Boise State Political Science Professor Justin Vaughn says the gig is something of a stepping stone.

“I think this is a next step for most people,” he says. “And as recent history has shown, it can be a really excellent next step. Butch Otter parlayed that into subsequent higher office.”

It would be a great opportunity for the winner to raise their profile and make a splash on the political scene statewide, says Vaughn.

Campaign finance reports are out from the five GOP candidates, and some are in better fiscal shape than others.

Steve Yates, the former head of the Idaho GOP, is leading the pack having raised over $102,000.

“That’s a pretty good number for just announcing recently and only having a certain amount of time when he can even do the fundraising,” according to Vaughn.

The lion’s share of that money comes from out of state, which Vaughn says is a good thing: Iit shows Yates is connected beyond Idaho.

Janet McGeachin, the former state representative from Idaho Falls is in second when it comes to fundraising. She’s sitting on some $76,000, but $50,000 of that came from a loan.

“When you take the loan from herself and the debt load into consideration, it’s not quite as impressive as it looks,” says the Boise State professor.

Trailing McGeachin is State Senator Marv Hagedorn. The lawmaker from Meridian has just over $40,000 on the books.

Rounding out the five are State Representative Kelly Packer from McCammon and Steve Pankey of Twin Falls.

Packer invested a fair amount of her funds in a purple RV emblazoned with her image. After outfitting her ride, her $10,000 in donations was hovering around just $1,800. Vaughn thinks she made a good investment.

“If I were her I’d want to drive it forever – not just for the next eight months,” he says excitedly. “You know an expense like that it—it’s pretty significant; it also implies you’re in it for the long haul – I guess, no pun intended.”

The final candidate, Pankey, reported only $1,500 which came from himself.

The primary to whittle down the expansive GOP field of potential lieutenant governors is May 15, 2018.

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