The Republican Governors Association has launched an attack ad against A.J. Balukoff, Democratic candidate for governor of Idaho, calling him “a typical politician” who wants to raise taxes and “a perfect fit for California, wrong for Idaho.” Balukoff, a longtime Idahoan and Boise businessman, has served 17 years as an unpaid elected member of the Boise School Board, but other than that has never held political office. He’s running against GOP Gov. Butch Otter, who has held public office since the ‘70s and is one of Idaho’s longest-serving politicians. Otter has served eight years as governor, six as a congressman, 14 as lieutenant governor and four years in the Legislature in the 1970s.
I’ll have a full AdWatch story later today examining the claims in the ad; you can watch it here. RGA spokesman Jon Thompson said the ad is running statewide and the ad buy is “in the six-figure range.” Gail Gitchco, RGA communications director, said in a news release announcing the ad, “A.J. Balukoff is a run-of-the-mill, liberal politician, not the leader Idaho deserves.”
Mike Lanza, spokesman for Balukoff’s campaign, said, “The insertion of money from the national party clearly demonstrates that the Washington, D.C., power base of the national GOP recognizes that Butch Otter is in danger of losing the governor's office.” Yesterday, Politico had a story headed “Incumbent governors fear wipeout” listing Idaho as a “wild card,” among states where incumbent governors could lose; the story cited division among Idaho conservatives and Otter's narrow primary win over Russ Fulcher.