Columnist Chuck Malloy/Idaho Politics Weekly comments:
As Lt. Gov. Brad Little approaches an age when people start thinking about slowing it down with their professional careers, he’s looking to accelerate his – as a candidate for governor in 2018.
It’s certainly not a shocking announcement from the 62-year-old Little, who has been lieutenant governor since 2009, but it ends any shred of speculation about Gov. Butch Otter running for a fourth term – or serving as governor for life.
Announcing early is a smart move for Little. In Idaho, governors tend to be anointed, not elected – and Democrats are hardly a threat. The coronation process worked with former Gov. Dirk Kempthorne when he left his U.S. Senate post to move back to Idaho, and again with Otter, who staked out his claim for the governorship well before the 2006 campaign. It was enough to discourage Jim Risch, the sitting governor in 2006, to step aside rather than challenge Otter. But shed no tears for Risch, who now holds a safe U.S. Senate seat.
Ten years ago, it was Otter’s turn, and the same can be said for Little in 2018. The resume is there politically, and with plenty of hands-on experience in state government.
But not everybody is a fan. Some of the more conservative legislators think he’s too moderate (translation: liberal) in his thinking. There are those who would rather see someone with a more conservative track record, such as Congressman Raul Labrador, or former Sen. Russ Fulcher, who came surprisingly close to upsetting Otter in the 2014 primary.
For now, Wayne Hoffman, director of the conservative-based Idaho Freedom Foundation, is giving Little the benefit of the doubt. More here.