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BOISE – The harshest political ad on the air in Idaho’s governor’s race goes after Democratic candidate A.J. Balukoff, branding him a “liberal” and attempting to tie him to President Barack Obama. Balukoff, a Boise businessman and longtime chairman of the Boise School Board who is challenging Republican Gov. Butch Otter, says the ad is full of “lies and distortions,” particularly for tying him to Obama – when he was a supporter of Mitt Romney for president.
BOISE – The newest TV ad to surface in Idaho’s gubernatorial campaign this year is a second one from Democrat A.J. Balukoff, themed around the historic Oregon Trail wagon ruts south of Boise. “It’s another good introduction piece, but it doesn’t seem to be much different from the first one,” said Jim Weatherby, professor emeritus of public policy at Boise State University. “He needs to get his name out there and continue to introduce himself, but I think we need to pretty soon hear some more from him in terms of what a Balukoff administration would look like and how different it might be from an Otter administration.”
The race for governor lurched into high gear last week, as the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, a lobbying group that represents the state’s largest businesses, launched an independent campaign against A.J. Balukoff, the Democratic candidate for governor, including a website dubbed “LiberalAJ.com.” “A.J. Balukoff wants Idahoans to think he’s some kind of level-headed moderate,” said Alex LaBeau, IACI chief. He said his group will seek to counter that impression and tie Balukoff to Democratic President Barack Obama, drawing on everything from Balukoff’s voting record as a Boise school board member to his campaign website.
BOISE – In his 16 years as Idaho’s state treasurer, Ron Crane has built up the state’s credit rating, launched a popular college savings program and a free annual control-your-finances conference for women, and helped create a bond bank that lets schools and local governments take advantage of the state’s favorable interest rates. But he’s best known for a series of critical state audits over the past five years, the most recent suggesting that Crane made an inappropriate transfer between two funds that cost state taxpayers more than $10 million.
A look through 1st District GOP congressman Raul Labrador’s latest campaign finance report turns up a bit of irony: Labrador’s biggest donation – $5,000 for the reporting period and $10,000 for the election cycle to date – came from the Every Republican is Crucial PAC. That’s ERIC-PAC, the political action committee operated by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Cantor was defeated in the Virginia Republican primary last month; Labrador mounted an unsuccessful challenge to his successor in his leadership post, losing to House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy.