BOISE — Although none is revealing who’s doing the asking, three Idaho Republican lawmakers say they’re being courted to run for lieutenant governor next year.
State Sens. Dean Cameron of Rupert and Denton Darrington of Declo, and Idaho House Speaker Bruce Newcomb of Burley say they each were approached by unnamed party activists about a run for the state’s second-in-command job. Newcomb has ruled it out, while Cameron and Darrington are noncommittal.
“At this point in time, I haven’t decided that it is something I want to do,” said Cameron, an eight-term lawmaker who co-chairs the legislature’s influential budget committee.
“I’m definitely looking at it, though I haven’t made any decision,” Darrington said.
Newcomb, whose wife, Celia Gould, was one of the candidates defeated in 2002 by current Idaho Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, said a major unknown in the early jockeying is whether Risch is going to run for re-election or challenge U.S. Rep. Butch Otter in the GOP nomination for governor.
Otter, who was elected to the U.S. House in 2000, triggered the advance political positioning last year when he declared he would run for governor in 2006. Incumbent Republican Gov. Dirk Kempthorne has said he won’t seek re-election.
Newcomb is Otter’s gubernatorial campaign manager and said he doubts Risch will jump into the race for the state’s top job.
“Butch’s numbers are so much higher than Jim Risch’s,” Newcomb said of campaign polls. “I don’t think if he had the money of Bill Gates he could close the gap.”
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