Idaho Gov. Butch Otter said it was First Lady Lori Otter who brought him a graphic artist’s rendition of a cartoon otter logo for the couple’s new PAC, a symbol he’s never used before in any of his 25 campaigns, 24 of which he won. “It is so cute,” Otter said. “Where’s that been 25 elections ago? I might have won the one that I lost. I could have been 25 instead of 24-and-1.”
Otter said when he was first running for governor in 1978, a Canyon County supporter, Pete Hackworth, a newspaperman who later worked for Sen. Steve Symms, advised against making his namesake animal into a campaign logo. “He said, ‘Don’t use the otter as your deal, because it looks like a rat,’” Otter recalled.
“I said, ‘No, rats have this long, hairy nose, and otters have a cute little mustache and a flat face,’” he said. “But I thought at the time it was good advice. But that logo looks nothing like a rat.”
Otter said he developed a campaign logo featuring two cowboys seated on horseback, shaking hands, and used it in lots of campaigns. "I think I first used it in my '99 race for Congress," he said. He said people looking at that logo got the message: "That's a contract in the West - that's an Idaho value. When you make a promise, you keep it." Asked what message the new cartoon-otter logo sends, Otter deadpanned: "It means it's not a rat."