Then, at just after 4 p.m. on the day before Thanksgiving, Risch had a press release faxed out from his law office announcing, without explanation, that he’d run for re-election instead. “We have had substantial successes as we have worked to grow Idaho’s economy and provide quality jobs for Idahoans,” Risch said in his release. “Working to improve the quality of life for Idahoans is one of the highest callings of public service, and I look forward to making more progress if re-election to a second term.”
Risch couldn’t be reached on the phone, and his office reported that he and wife Vickie “have left town for the weekend.”
Otter had announced his candidacy for governor unusually early – in December, before he’d even taken the oath of office for his current term in Congress – and begun piling up campaign funds, in what many saw as a pre-emptive strike against rival Risch. Ever since then, Risch has been quashing rumors that he’d drop out of the race in the face of the wealthy, well-connected congressman’s early start.
One other candidate, Democrat Jerry Brady, also has announced he’ll run for governor next year. Current Gov. Dirk Kempthorne is bowing out after his second term.