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A tumultuous election in Idaho led to high turnout and strong feelings, but the most-Republican-voting state in the nation was left little changed. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter rallied to win a second four-year term, despite widespread concern about his decision to cut school funding and the failure of the major initiative of his first term, a big investment in the state’s roads.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Keith Allred and some of his supporters will roll through North Idaho on Monday for a series of “mini-rallies.” Allred, a former citizen activist and founder of The Common Interest, is challenging first-term Republican Gov. Butch Otter in Tuesday’s election.
BOISE – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter likes to say he doesn’t go negative – all his TV campaign ads are positive and are about him, not his opponent. But there have been plenty of negative ads targeting Otter’s Democratic challenger, Keith Allred, thanks to a $400,000 infusion this month from the Republican Governors Association to the Idaho Republican Party.
BOISE – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter defended his cuts to education and his track record as governor Thursday night, as he met four rivals in the final debate before Tuesday’s election. “The choice had to be made, because there’s only two ways that you can balance the budget: You either cut the government or you increase the tax load for the citizenry,” Otter declared. “We chose the former.”
With the election less than a week away, Idaho voters are worried about their state’s economy, wary of plans to run huge trucks across scenic U.S. Highway 12, and averse to generating more funds for road improvements in the state. Those results from the Idaho Newspapers Poll, a collaboration of The Spokesman-Review and six Idaho newspapers, show an unsettled electorate in a state that’s about to decide whether to keep its current governor, members of Congress and other top leaders – and could spell trouble for the incumbents if they hold their seats.
Here’s a look at how Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and Democratic challenger Keith Allred differ on big issues in the race: • SCHOOL FUNDING: Otter approved an unprecedented 7.5 percent cut for public schools this year; he said it was unavoidable in the state’s budget crunch, and that when the economy improves, schools will be the first to get funding back. Allred says the cut was unneeded, as the state low-balled the revenue estimates used to set the budget and could have filled vacant tax auditor positions to collect taxes due but not collected. He pledges to protect schools from budget cuts.
BOISE – Butch Otter’s long-awaited turn as Idaho’s governor – he first ran for the post in 1978 and served as lieutenant governor for 14 years – hasn’t turned out quite the way he planned. He promised improvements to education, a business-friendly climate, and a restructured, more-efficient state government that would be “the people’s servant” and allow Idahoans to “achieve greatness.”
BOISE – Keith Allred, Democratic candidate for governor of Idaho, announced Thursday that he opposes Gov. Butch Otter’s decision to pull Idaho out of wolf management, and that if elected, he’d reverse it. “We should be expanding state control, not giving it away to the federal government,” Allred said. “If we want wolves delisted, we need to stay in the game.”
BOISE – A new commercial from Keith Allred, the Democratic candidate for Idaho governor, blames GOP Gov. Butch Otter for the state of Idaho’s economy, saying Otter “focused on helping special-interest cronies instead of creating jobs.” Allred cites a big decline in the rate of personal income growth in Idaho since Otter took office, compared with surrounding states, along with a drop-off from 2006 to 2008 in the growth rate for the state’s gross domestic product.
CALDWELL, Idaho – Cuts to dental programs for the poor became a surprise flashpoint of Wednesday evening’s debate between Republican Gov. Butch Otter and Democrat Keith Allred, as they went tooth to tooth over austerity measures aimed at saving Idaho money. About 150 dentists have been cut from a program that provides dental services to Medicaid recipients.
BOISE – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter on Tuesday reported raising $752,000 in campaign funds in the past four months, while his Democratic challenger, Keith Allred, raised $372,500. With both candidates spending heavily on advertising as the campaign season hits its peak, Otter reported $211,634 in cash on hand at the close of the period on Sept. 30, while Allred reported $102,072.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is seeking a second term in office at a time when the state is facing historic budget cuts and high unemployment, and after he’s failed twice to push through his major legislative initiative, to increase funding for the state’s roads and bridges.
BOISE – The Idaho Republican Party has launched an attack ad against Democratic candidate for governor Keith Allred, charging that he’d tax everything from child care to church bake sales, a claim Allred dubs a “wild distortion.” Norm Semanko, Idaho Republican Party chairman, said the new TV commercial, which is running statewide including in the Spokane TV market, is based on Allred’s statement at a debate in Twin Falls that everything is on the table when it comes to reviewing existing tax exemptions.
BOISE – Keith Allred, the Democratic candidate for governor of Idaho, is going after incumbent Butch Otter with a new TV commercial targeting Otter for this year’s school funding cuts. It’s the same theme Allred hit in his previous ad; Idaho cut school funding an unprecedented 7.5 percent this year.
BOISE – They have castrated thousands of calves. They spend free time riding the range on horseback or hunting with shotguns slung over their shoulders. Cowboy hats, oversized belt buckles and scuffed-up boots are standard attire. Meet the candidates for Idaho governor – two champion horsemen who seem to be running as much for cowboy-in-chief as they are for the state’s top political office.
BOISE – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s latest campaign commercial focuses on alternative energy, touting Idaho’s moves in that direction. But the Otter campaign could not document Otter’s claim in the ad that he’s made the state one of the nation’s leaders in alternative energy research, and national statistics show otherwise.
BOISE – With state education cuts high on Idahoans’ minds with the new school year under way, Gov. Butch Otter’s Democratic challenger, Keith Allred, has launched a new TV ad criticizing Otter for the cuts. The ad, which began running Tuesday night across Southern Idaho but hasn’t yet launched in the Panhandle, includes an image of a troubled Otter looking down at a tall stack of papers; that’s a composite image in which the papers and other elements were added.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s 16-point lead over Democrat Keith Allred masks weaknesses that show the race is far from over. Otter leads Allred 45 percent to 29 percent in a statewide poll commissioned by The Spokesman-Review and six other Idaho newspapers. But only 44 percent of those polled said they had a favorable opinion of Otter, and 20 percent remain undecided.
BOISE – It’s debate season, with major debates set in the coming weeks in Idaho’s top political races, giving voters who tune in a chance to see and compare the candidates. The two major-party candidates for governor, incumbent Gov. Butch Otter and Democrat Keith Allred, have faced off twice in recent weeks at City Club events in Idaho Falls and Boise; the two also are scheduled for two televised debates in late October, though Otter canceled on a planned Oct. 7 debate in Lewiston.