NAMPA, Idaho – Gov. Butch Otter is considering as many as two dozen people as possible replacements for Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, who will be sworn in next month as Idaho’s new U.S. senator.
Risch was elected in November to replace outgoing Sen. Larry Craig. Otter must appoint his replacement.
Otter hasn’t publicly announced his candidate list, but has spoken with state Sens. John McGee, R-Caldwell, and Brad Little, R-Emmett. In addition, Senate President Pro Tem Bob Geddes, R-Soda Springs, has said he’d take the job if asked, while House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, confirmed he’s in the running, too.
Celia Gould, a former state lawmaker who now runs the Department of Agriculture, has withdrawn her name from contention.
John Hanian, Otter’s spokesman, said an announcement won’t be made until Jan. 6, when Risch is officially sworn in as senator.
Otter “said he won’t appoint anybody until there’s actually a vacancy,” Hanian told the Idaho Press Tribune. “Otherwise they’d be sitting in Jim Risch’s lap.”
Idaho lieutenant governors serve part time, oversee the state Senate when it’s in session and earn an annual salary of $27,820. They also serve as the state’s chief executive when the governor is out of state or incapacitated.
Risch has said the role has helped him promote economic development in Idaho, including helping persuade Empire Airlines to expand in Coeur d’Alene when the company was considering a move to Washington state.
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