Otter wasn’t kidding: He’s ropin’ in dough for third term

Last Friday, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter told reporters he was preparing to seek a third term next year, including raising money. What he neglected to mention was his campaign is hosting an “Idaho Code of the West BBQ” this Saturday at Turf Bar & Grill at Les Bois Park.

The event’s invitation includes famed Ketchum-based Western photographer David Stoecklein and Jim Owen, an author and founder of the Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership.

The invitation from the Otter for Idaho Host Committee  also includes an image of Otter on horseback. Stoecklein, I’m told, won’t be there because of illness.

Tickets are modestly priced for such a campaign dinner, $75 per person and $125 per couple. Books will be available for purchase and autographs.

Prime sponsors are Intermountain Gas, Eli Lilly and Agri Beef. Choice sponsors were Coeur d’Alene Racing and Moneytree. Select sponsors are Watkins Distributing, Hayden Distributing, Idaho Distributing Co., Stein Distributing, lobbyist Jerry Deckard and House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley.

Last week, Otter resisted saying when he would make a formal announcement, saying, “I’m just not going to be pushed into a calendar. I got a lotta other things on my mind right now. You know, I just – I am planning on it. I’m fundraising. I’m doing those things that I can, at the same time that I’m trying to govern the state of Idaho.”

In calendar 2012, Otter for Idaho raised $134,513, spent $113,762 and had $76,928 in cash on Dec. 31. His campaign also reported $131,000 in debt.

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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