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Why Rebecca Arnold filed to run for lieutenant governor, and why she withdrew…

Rebecca Arnold
Rebecca Arnold

When the filing period for Idaho lieutenant governor approached last month, five Republicans already were crowded into the race, and a sixth joined them as the filing period closed – current Ada County Highway District Commissioner Rebecca Arnold, an attorney and former unsuccessful candidate for district judge. But now it’s back to just the five: Sens. Bob Nonini and Marv Hagedorn, Rep. Kelley Packer, former Rep. Janice McGeachin, and former Idaho GOP Chairman Steve Yates. It turns out that Arnold withdrew about a week after she filed; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

“My mother has been very sick and she’s in Kentucky,” Arnold told Eye on Boise today. “I just, I couldn’t. I’ve run a lot of campaigns before and I know how to do it, but I just didn’t feel like I could take money from people if I couldn’t put 100 percent into the campaign.”

So why did Arnold file for the already-much-sought part-time post, which includes presiding over the Senate, breaking tie votes there, and filling in for the governor when the governor’s out of state? “I didn’t see a strong front-runner in the race, and I still don’t,” she said. “And I think it’s an important position. I mean, there are some qualified candidates, no doubt, but I just don’t see a strong front-runner there.”

Arnold, who is past president of the Idaho Association of Highway Districts, said her top issue in the campaign would have been funding for local transportation improvements. “We have to come up with a better way,” she said. “Property tax is just not the way to do it. We have to move to a more user-based system for paying for our transportation improvements, and we are only continuing to get more behind. And I don’t see any of these candidates talking about that.”

When Arnold, whose current ACHD commissioner term runs through 2020, was asked if she sees herself running for higher office in the future, she said, “Possibly.”

The five remaining GOP hopefuls in the race will debate tomorrow night in the "Idaho Debates," which will be broadcast live on Idaho Public Television. The Tuesday evening debate starts at 7 p.m.



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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