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Otter suggests he may not endorse in party chairman race after all

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is now suggesting he may not endorse any candidate in the race for the next state Republican Party chairman, changing his approach, reports the Idaho Statesman’s Dan Popkey – and following advice last week from Congressman Raul Labrador.

"My advice to the governor is pretty simple," Labrador told the Statesman said last week. "Work with the grassroots of the party to find an acceptable chairman for the party. So be part of the team, don't try to dictate to the party who his choice is going to be." Otter has been battling with Labrador's wing of the party since it turned out his choice for chairman, Kirk Sullivan, in 2008 in favor of Norm Semanko.

Today, Otter told Popkey he’s spoken with “a lot” of candidates for the chairman position and that he’s “comfortable so far with everybody that’s called.” That doesn’t include current Chairman Barry Peterson, with whom Otter said he’s not talked. "If folks really want a grassroots candidate, those of us in leadership positions are going to have to abstain from anointing or endorsing anybody," Otter told the Statesman. "All the folks' calls that I've taken, I've just said, 'Listen, go to the convention, talk to the folks before you get to the convention, see what your chances are.' " Popkey’s full report is online here.

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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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