Steve Yates, former Idaho Republican Party chairman, launched his campaign for lieutenant governor today with an announcement on the state Capitol steps in Boise, to be followed by appearances today in Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls. Yates was introduced by Milford Terrell, who lauded Yates’ work to repair the divided Idaho GOP as its chair. “He knows how to unite people, and that’s what we’re looking for in this day and age, is some good leadership,” Terrell said.
It’s a crowded race, with three other current or former Republican lawmakers already running: Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian; Rep. Kelley Packer, R-McCammon; and former Rep. Janice McGeachin, R-Idaho Falls. Yates said he welcomes the competition. “I definitely, definitely respect anyone making a strong, positive case for their public service,” he said.
Among the two dozen who gathered for Yates’ Boise announcement was former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig. “I was his finance chair for two years at the party level,” Craig said. “I see a tremendous talent there. He was able to take a broken party structure and weave it back together.” He added, “He’s just not a reactionary, he’s a thinker.”
Hagedorn, who was inside the Statehouse not long after Yates’ announcement, said, “Good for Steve – Steve’s a good guy. It’s going to be a very crowded race.” He added, “I think people are going to be very tired of campaign rhetoric come April of next year, but it’ll be fun. All of us who have announced so far are pretty good friends.”
Yates said, “We brought the party together by focusing on fundamentals,” and added 112,000 registered Republicans statewide, “overtaking ‘unaffiliated’” as the biggest group of Idaho voters. “During my time as state chair, I was able to travel to every corner of the state,” he said.
Yates said he believes 2018 offers a “golden opportunity” for Idaho, with Republican leadership at the national level. “2018 is a time for choosing,” he said. “It is a time for … us to choose the kind of politics we want guiding our state forward.”
Yates is an Idaho Falls businessman who worked in the past at the Department of Defense, the Heritage Foundation, and as Deputy National Security Advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney. “After my time in national service, we moved to Idaho as quickly as we could,” Yates said.