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Wed., May 21, 2014, 11:53 a.m.

Otter on his election-night silence: ‘I just don’t like to jinx myself’

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter talks with Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, the morning after Otter defeated Fulcher in the GOP primary. (Betsy Russell)
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter talks with Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, the morning after Otter defeated Fulcher in the GOP primary. (Betsy Russell)

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter had this explanation today for his failure to emerge from behind closed doors last night to address hundreds of supporters who awaited him at the GOP election-night watch party in a hotel ballroom: “I just don’t like to jinx myself.” Otter said it wasn’t clear that he’d won, in his challenge from Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Russ Fulcher; Kootenai County results remained uncounted until well after 1 a.m., and Blaine County wasn’t counted until mid-day today. Some precincts still were out in other counties, including Bonneville, Otter said. 'I was concerned that it was close, and Russ is a good campaigner," he said. "I had an awful lot of supporters come up to the room."

Otter lost to Fulcher in nine of Idaho’s 44 counties – including three of the biggest: Kootenai, Canyon and Ada. In unofficial results, which still aren’t final, Otter had 51.3 percent of the vote to Fulcher’s 43.6 percent.

The second-term governor said he wasn’t surprised at the narrowness of his primary win, or at losing the three big counties. “No, I wasn’t, because Russ was very effective,” Otter said, “and working on those issues that, you know, there was some concern in the party for. Especially those issues like the insurance exchange, like Common Core. Those two, there was a very, very active group against those issues, and they have a pretty active base. And that base that they had was, if you just read down, was about 36 percent of the total vote. So that was pretty solid.”

Otter said he has no regrets about endorsing challengers to five GOP legislative incumbents, four of whom lost. Otter said he’ll still be able to get along with those incumbents, Sen. Bob Nonini and Reps. Kathy Sims, Vito Barbieri, and Ron Mendive. “I always have,” he said. The one challenger Otter endorsed who won in the primary was Abby Lee, who defeated Senate Resources Chairman Monty Pearce.




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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