Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has endorsed candidates in 22 legislative primary races - including five challengers to current GOP incumbents, four of them from North Idaho. “I have an agreement with the majority leadership in both the House and the Senate,” Otter said. “I will stay out of those contested races where there’s an incumbent, with the exception that if that incumbent has endorsed my opponent, I am free.”
All five – Sens. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, and Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, and Reps. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, and Kathy Sims and Ron Mendive, both R-Coeur d’Alene – have endorsed Meridian state Sen. Russ Fulcher in the Republican primary over Otter; some of them have held fundraisers or gatherings for Fulcher. “I think that frees me up,” Otter declared.
The endorsements in Idaho’s Tuesday primary election come as the state’s Republican Party is deeply split. An illustration: GOP 1st District Congressman Raul Labrador today endorsed all four of the North Idaho incumbents whose challengers Otter is backing. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.