BOISE – David Johnston, former executive director of the Idaho Republican Party, joined the Tommy Ahlquist campaign for governor of Idaho on Monday as campaign manager.
Johnston, 27, was the Idaho GOP executive director for three years. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Afghanistan, he studied political science at Boise State University and has worked on campaigns at the local, legislative and statewide level.
Johnston said he left his party post because “I was in that role for nearly three years and felt I had accomplished everything I wanted to and had great success. Later, this opportunity came up and I felt it was a great opportunity.”
Ahlquist is one of three announced GOP candidates for governor of Idaho in 2018; the other two are Lt. Gov. Brad Little and former state Sen. Russ Fulcher. Also filing preliminary paperwork for the 2018 race for governor are three other candidates: Independents Lisa Marie of Boise and John Thomas Wiechec of Middleton, and Democrat Troy Minton of Boise.
First District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador has been openly considering a run, but hasn’t yet announced his intentions. A.J. Balukoff, a Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged GOP Gov. Butch Otter in 2014, also reportedly is considering a run.
“He is conservative, a successful businessman, and a political outsider, all things I want in my next governor and I believe Idahoans want,” Johnston said of Alquist.. “I think we have a great opportunity in 2018 and I believe that Tommy, as governor, will bring new ideas, a fresh approach and specific conservative plans to the Statehouse.”
Among the candidates, the only two who’ve been in the race long enough to have filed campaign finance reports are Fulcher and Little. At the end of 2016, Fulcher had just under $80,000 on hand and $83,000 in debt. Little had $334,000 on hand and no debt.
Ahlquist has been running frequent television ads since he launched his campaign March 1.
Johnston’s last day as Idaho GOP executive director was April 17. His successor in that post is Lyndel Strong, 26, of Meridian.
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