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Eye On Boise

Gov’s race moves into town halls, rodeo arenas

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Keith Allred drew about 200 people to his town hall meeting in Boise last night at the Egyptian Theater, the second in a series that started at the Sandpoint Community Hall on Monday with a crowd of 30 to 40. Allred, who’s planning similar events at the Nampa Civic Center on Aug. 10 (doors open at 6 p.m., program at 6:30), in Lewiston on Aug. 26, and one still to be scheduled in eastern Idaho, spoke for about 10 minutes, then took questions passed up on cards from the audience to a moderator, Boise City Club-style, for the remainder of the two-hour session. Top questions in Boise: Jobs, education and the economy, said Allred campaign spokesman Shea Andersen. “I was delighted to see that on a beautiful summer evening right around dinner time, that that number of people were willing to stop by and sit for a couple hours and listen to a candidate talk about his views on how to improve the state,” Andersen said.

Boise City Councilman T.J. Thompson served as the moderator for the event. But perhaps the biggest impact came from the theater’s marquee, which in huge letters, for two days, proclaimed “Allred for Idaho,” since that was the coming attraction and then the now-playing event. It was the equivalent of a giant billboard for the campaign in the center of downtown Boise.

Incumbent Gov. Butch Otter, meanwhile, is competing in team roping tonight at the Snake River Stampede, part of a long tradition the 68-year-old governor has of performing in rodeos as part of his campaigns. “He did one last week in Jerome,” said Otter campaign manager Debbie Field. “Whenever he gets an opportunity, he does it, he loves it.” Field said the Otter campaign is looking into holding “tele-town hall” meetings every other week starting in August, to allow people to question Otter. She said the campaign is “paying attention to what we need to do, and that’s turning out Republicans to the polls and answering questions. … We’re working with our team across the state. People will start paying attention when the summer gets over and the kids get back in school.”

Independent gubernatorial candidate Jana Kemp will appear in Pocatello’s “Pioneer Days” parade this weekend. Also on the ballot for governor are independent “Pro-Life” and Libertarian Ted Dunlap.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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