1st District Congressman Butch Otter, who’s running for governor, has announced his engagement to Lori Easley, a vice principal in the Meridian School District. A photo of the engaged couple is posted on Otter’s campaign website, showing the two smiling tensely. The site notes that a wedding date has not yet been set.
Otter is in a four-way race for the Republican nomination for governor, but he’s a clear front-runner as a sitting congressman and the state’s longest-serving lieutenant governor, while the other three candidates haven’t held state office. Two Democrats are running, including Jerry Brady, who took 42 percent of the vote against Gov. Dirk Kempthorne in the last election. So are two third-party candidates.
Otter’s marital status – he’s been single since his divorce 13 years ago from the former Gay Simplot – would have made him highly unusual were he to be elected governor. Typically, the Idaho governor’s spouse has taken a fairly high-profile ceremonial role as the state’s First Lady. Ironically, if Otter were to get married and be elected governor, he and his new wife would become the first official occupants of the state’s new governor’s mansion – the former home of J.R. Simplot, the richest man in Idaho, who donated the landmark hilltop mansion to the state for a new governor’s mansion. Simplot, of course, is Otter’s ex-father in law.