Lt. Gov. Jim Risch just announced that if Gov. Dirk Kempthorne is confirmed as the new Interior secretary, he’ll step in and serve out Kempthorne’s final term as governor, but he won’t change his plans to run for re-election as lieutenant governor.
“I think the decision comes down to this: Do I want to engage in what would be a difficult and contentious campaign, or do I want to discharge the duties of the governor of the state of Idaho? I’ve chosen the latter, and I think that’s the right decision,” Risch said.
This will make him a historical anomaly: The first sitting governor to run for lieutenant governor.
Risch got a laugh out of that, but said he’s made his decision. When he first decided last fall to seek re-election as lieutenant governor rather than challenge Congressman Butch Otter for the GOP nomination for governor, Risch said it was in part because of his family, which surrounded him at his announcement today in the governor’s office. A young grandson cooed, “Papa, mama, dada.”
Risch acknowledged, “It’s no secret that I’ve wanted to do this job for a long time.” In the eight months that he’ll serve as governor, he said, “I’ll do the best that I can possibly do for the people of the state of Idaho.”