Election Central

As shocked as Claude Rains in Casablanca: Otter to announce re-election bid

Gov. Butch Otter, who submitted a 142-page campaign finance report in January and on March 3 filed to appear on the ballot for a third term, “will officially announce his re-election campaign with a tour across the state” Wednesday, according to a news release.

Otter is set to begin at 8 a.m. in Meridian at Western States Equipment Co., 500 E. Overland Road, then fly to Twin Falls, Idaho Falls and Hayden.

“We have accomplished great things over the past seven years, but my work is not yet complete,” Otter says in the release. “We need to continue to make sure we are preparing Idaho’s workforce for a more competitive future, and that there are career opportunities available here so our citizens and communities can prosper.”

Otter, who will celebrate his 72nd birthday before the May 20 primary, has continually held statewide or congressional office since 1987.

His “official” announcement has about as much genuine surprise in it as actor Claude Raines did when telling Humphrey Bogart “I’m shocked! Shocked to find out that gambling is going on in here!” Raines’ Captain Renault character then politely thanks Peter Lorre for handing over his winnings before clearing Rick’s Cafe.

There is, however, a bit of news in Otter’s announcement news release: 62 percent of incumbent Republicans in the Legislature have publicly endorsed Otter.

Otter’s legislative backers include 18 of his principal opponent’s 27 GOP colleagues in the Idaho Senate and 35 of 57 House Republicans.

In addition to Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Russ Fulcher of Meridian, Otter also faces perennial losers Walt Bayes of Emmett and Harley Brown of Nampa in the Republican primary. Democrat A.J. Balukoff of Boise, a heavy favorite against former Republican Terry Kerr of Idaho Falls in the Democratic primary, awaits the winner in November.

Others on the November gubernatorial ballot: Libertarian John Bujak of Eagle, Constitution Party nominee Steve Pankey of Shoshone and independents Jill Humble of Boise and Pro-Life of Letha.

Otter is scheduled to be in Twin Falls at 10:30 a.m. at Glanbia Foods, 121 4th Ave. South; in Idaho Falls at 12:30 p.m. at Snake River Landing, 901 Pier View Drive; and in Hayden at 3 p.m. at AGC AeroComposites, Inc., 10413 N. Aero Drive.

The events are free and open to the public.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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Posted in Election Central, Idaho Politics