Gov. Butch Otter is formally launching his re-election campaign today with a four-stop tour of the state. As campaign announcements go, it’s a bit anti-climactic; Otter filed for a third term on March 3, and first announced to supporters that he’d run for one at a North Idaho governor’s ball in December of 2011.
Otter’s tour today includes an 8 a.m. stop at Western States Equipment Company in Meridian; a 10:30 a.m. visit to Glanbia Foods in Twin Falls; a 12:30 visit to Snake River Landing in Idaho Falls; and a 4 p.m. stop at AGC AeroComposites in Hayden. Campaign manager Jayson Ronk said the locations were picked to emphasize economic development.
“It has been my honor to serve the people of Idaho as governor,” Otter said in a news release. “We have accomplished great things over the past seven years, but my work is not yet complete. We need to continue to make sure we are preparing Idaho’s workforce for a more competitive future, and that there are career opportunities available here so our citizens and communities can prosper.”
Otter also released a list of 18 GOP senators and 35 GOP House members who are backing his re-election bid. He faces a primary challenge from Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian. The victor from the GOP primary faces Democrat A.J. Balukoff in November. Also on the ballot are an array of other candidates: Two independents, Jill Humble of Boise and “Pro-Life”; Libertarian John Bujak; Constitution Party candidate Steve Pankey; perennial candidates Walt Bayes and Harley Brown in the GOP primary; and former local GOP candidate Terry Kerr of Idaho Falls in the Democratic primary.
As of January, Otter had raised $708,000 for his re-election campaign, dwarfing the campaign warchests of all the other candidates.
Fulcher criticized Otter’s tour, saying, "The Otter administration will be remembered as eight years of missed opportunities. An announcement tour to a select group of businesses that are friendly to him cannot hide his lack of leadership on the issues that are most important to Idaho. Everything is not 'awesome' as Otter would like us to believe. Idaho can do better."