Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential nominee has endorsed Idaho GOP Gov. Butch Otter for a third term. Otter co-chaired Romney’s Idaho campaign.
“A proven conservative leader with a tangible legacy of principled Republican leadership, Governor Otter is committed to making government more efficient, effective and responsive,” Romney said in a letter released Thursday by the Otter campaign.
Romney’s endorsement is the second involving tea party challenges to mainstream GOP officeholders. In November, Romney endorsed 2nd District Congressman Mike Simpson over Bryan Smith in a similar statement, calling Simpson “the conservative Republican that we can trust to do what is right.”
Otter’s GOP primary challenger, Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Russ Fulcher of Meridian, said the timing of the endorsement is unsurprising, “considering the size and scope of the troubles during his administration.”
“I have tremendous respect for Mitt Romney,” Fulcher said. “Governor Otter was a campaign chair for Mitt Romney in 2012 and this is just Governor Romney returning a favor. Idahoans are smart and will make their own decision on who is best to lead Idaho with new ideas and fresh leadership, and someone who shares their values.”
Otter’s news release follows:
GOVERNOR ROMNEY ANNOUCES SUPPORT OF GOVERNOR OTTER RE-ELECTION
(BOISE) – Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said today that he is very humbled and appreciative to receive the endorsement of former Massachusetts Governor and Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
In a letter to his supporters, Governor Romney says he is backing Governor Otter because he is: “A proven conservative leader with a tangible legacy of principled Republican leadership, Governor Otter is committed to making government more efficient, effective and responsive.”
Governor Romney also points to Governor Otter’s fiscal record as another reason for his support, “Governor Otter has successfully led the state of Idaho through a difficult economic recession while simultaneously maintaining a balanced budget and reducing taxes. This is no small feat given the ‘spend now, pay later’ mentality all too prevalent in state capitals around the nation. As a result of his strong conservative leadership, Idaho is leading the way in creating new jobs and enhancing economic opportunities.”
Governor Otter said, “I am truly honored by Governor Romney’s vote of confidence in my proven conservative leadership and desire to serve another term in office.”