2014 Election

AJForIdaho.com

Democratic gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff has refused to answer the National Rifle Association survey and has criticized the organization for pushing for concealed-carry guns on Idaho college campuses.

Balukoff says Idaho's governor and Legislature shouldn't be beholden to the NRA.

Rather than complete the 23-question survey, Balukoff wrote a letter to the NRA, saying the questionnaire allows only for polarizing and extreme positions.

Former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt has endorsed Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane to be Idaho secretary of state.

The Republican in a statement released Thursday says McGrane is the best person to continue the sound judgment and fiscal responsibility set by current Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and his predecessor, Pete Cenarrusa.

Ysursa endorsed McGrane on Tuesday. Ysursa is retiring at the end of the year.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A member of Idaho’s 'Task Force for Improving Education' has been kicked out of the group. Mike Lanza says he was told it was because he went to work for Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s Democratic challenger.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer. We've talked on this program about something resembling a civil war in the Republican Party this year. More establishment Republicans are in primary battles against Tea Party candidates, and money is pouring in on both sides.

Romney, Simpson, Otter, Risch
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Former Republican presidential nominee and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is in Idaho this week campaigning on behalf of three longtime politicians.

On Thursday, Romney hosted a $250-per-plate luncheon for two-time Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter. The event was also to benefit eight-time Rep. Mike Simpson, R-ID, and Sen. Jim Risch, R-ID, who is campaigning for his first re-election bid.

Mitt Romney
Screengrab from KBOI2

If there’s one place failed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney can still be effective, it’s in Idaho. The former Massachusetts governor won nearly 65 percent of Idaho votes in the 2012 presidential race.

Thursday, he’ll ask Idahoans to re-elect two-time Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter. Romney hosted a high-end fundraiser for Rep. Mike Simpson in Idaho Falls Wednesday.

medical marijuana, pot
Audio Vision, Public Radio / Flickr Creative Commons

Four of Idaho's six neighboring states allow some form of legal marijuana use. Oregon, Nevada and Montana allow medical marijuana while Washington recently legalized pot for most residents. In each of those states, voters approved legalizing marijuana, but in Idaho, the issue has gotten nowhere.

Eagle lawyer C.T. "Chris" Troupis has announced his candidacy for Idaho attorney general.

In the announcement Wednesday at the Statehouse, he says he believes the time is right for voters to have a meaningful choice in this year's election. He plans to tap anti-incumbent and tea party sentiment in his campaign.

His candidacy sets up a primary challenge with Republican Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. Wasden is seeking re-election to a fourth four-year term. He ran unopposed when he won his third term in 2010.

Butch Otter
Idaho Statesman

Idaho Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is officially running for a third term.

Otter filed his declaration of candidacy Monday with the Secretary of State's Office.

In a statement, Otter says he wants to continue to make Idaho the best place in America to live, work and raise a family.

The former congressman has been widely expected to seek re-election.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The majority of Idahoans approve of medical marijuana, that's according to a four-year-old poll, which is the most recent available. Still, an initiative to legalize medical pot in Idaho is failing spectacularly.

education, election
Courtesy Sherri Ybarra

The race to lead Idaho's public schools is growing more-crowded — and potentially more raucous — with the addition of yet another Republican candidate to the field.

Mountain Home educator and administrator Sherri Ybarra threw her hat into ring, announcing Wednesday she'll vie for the Republican nomination in the May 20 primary election.

Ybarra joins Republicans already in the race, Grangeville teacher John Eynon and American Falls principal Randy Jensen.

The lone Democratic candidate, so far, is Jana Jones, who was defeated in 2006.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Republican gubernatorial candidate Russ Fulcher released his latest campaign finance report Friday. The report shows Fulcher raised $251,642 last year, $100,000 of which he personally loaned to his campaign.

Fulcher is currently a state senator in the Idaho Legislature. He's running against fellow Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter in the May primary.

Rep. Holli Woodings, a Boise Democrat, has announced her plan to run for Idaho's secretary of state seat.

The freshman lawmaker is aiming for the spot currently filled by Republican Ben Ysursa, who is set to retire at the end of the year.

The race is already crowded.

GOP members Rep. Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane, and former senators Evan Frasure and Mitch Toryanski are all running.

Woodings, who vowed to maintain a nonpartisan approach if voted into office, is a Boise State University graduate.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

New campaign disclosure filings from A.J. Balukoff, the Boise Democrat running for governor of Idaho, show he started the year at a significant fundraising disadvantage compared to his Republican opponents.

Balukoff’s campaign reports raising $110,860 in December. It was the only month the campaign raised money, after Balukoff publicly announced his run December 3.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s top education job is up for grabs. That's after Superintendent Tom Luna said Monday he won't run for a third term.

Two Republicans planned to run against Luna in the May primary - north Idaho teacher John Eynon and American Falls principle Randy Jensen. But Luna's announcement that he wouldn't seek re-election could now open the door for more candidates.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced Tuesday his candidacy for another term in office. Wasden made the announcement in the State Capitol this afternoon. The Republican will be seeking his fourth term in office. He was first elected in 2002 and took office in 2003.

Wasden says the office of attorney general is where he thinks he can make his greatest contribution to society.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna won't run for re-election, clearing the way for Democrats and Republicans in a race for an open seat.

Luna said Monday he decided not to run, feared his candidacy would become a political distraction and take away from his efforts to implement recommendations of a recent task force.

Luna says he's talked with former Republican state Sen. Melinda Smyser, wife of a prominent Capitol lobbyist, about running if he doesn't.

But he said he's not yet ready to endorse anybody.

In Challis, the debate is over the reach of Washington and how state land is used. Morning Edition has traveled to Idaho for one of the mostly closely watched political races this year.

Dick Fosbury, the Olympic champ whose name defines the modern high jump, has now launched an Idaho House of Representatives run.

After a post-Olympic engineering career, Fosbury wants to boost Idaho's economy out of "the doldrums."

But as he faces a Republican incumbent in conservative Idaho, Fosbury acknowledges headline writers might already be readying their keyboards.

"Fosbury Flops."

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

In election years, we hear a lot of reporting from swing states: Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin. We do not usually hear as much from a place like Idaho, because it is so deeply one color: red. But this midterm election year, Idaho is home to one of the most closely watched races in this nation. A Republican is battling another Republican in a primary campaign that may point to where the party, as a whole, is heading.

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