Longtime Idaho political observer and Idaho Falls Post-Register editorial page editor Marty Trillhaase recently expounded another theory for why Butch Otter announced so early that he’s running for governor in 2006 – so early that it was before Otter even took his oath of office for the third term in Congress he’s about to start. Trillhaase’s “third man” theory, laid out in a recent editorial,
suggests that Otter is trying to head off a third candidate – not just expected primary opponent Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, but incumbent Gov. Dirk Kempthorne.
Kempthorne made it extremely clear earlier that he wouldn’t run for a third term. But after questions arose about his fundraising in the past year, he nudged open the door to the possibility of running again – which allows him to continue to raise campaign cash.
Would Kempthorne run again? Reporters immediately began peppering him with that question when he joined J.R. Simplot this week to show off Idaho’s new governor’s mansion – Simplot’s grand hilltop home, which he’s donating to the state. After all, another term would allow Kempthorne to live in the view home for more than just a year or so. The governor laughed at the question, and answered simply, “There’s no announcement today.”