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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

‘Crystal Ball’ sees Otter’s prospects dimming

Maybe this is why Politico picked the Idaho governor’s race as a potential “wild card” yesterday when it was looking at incumbent governors who could lose in November: On Sept. 18, The “Sabato Crystal Ball,” the respected election analysis and forecasting site operated by the University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato, moved Idaho’s governor’s race from the “Safe Republican” category to “Likely Republican.”

“Those looking for a sleeper race this year ought to take a look at Idaho,” Crystal Ball managing editor Kyle Kondik wrote.  “In his quest for a third term, Gov. Butch Otter (R) really struggled in his primary, getting only 51% of the vote, and we’ve heard from some sources there that he could be vulnerable. Apparently, Otter is having trouble unifying his party, and deep-pocketed challenger A.J. Balukoff, a conservative Democrat who said he voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, might give disaffected Republicans an alternative (a Libertarian is also running).”

Kondik notes that data is scarce, with the only recent public polls showing Otter still well in the lead. “Based on that information, Otter is seemingly still in decent shape,” he wrote. “However, because of what we’ve been hearing, we’re switching this race from Safe Republican to Likely Republican.” The full post is online here; scroll down through the House and Senate ratings to the gubernatorial races. The site also moved the Pennsylvania governor’s race from “Leans Democratic” to “Likely Democratic,” predicting the GOP incumbent there will lose; and moved the Colorado governor’s race to “Toss-Up.”

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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