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BOISE – Before Keith Allred ran for governor of Idaho, the former Harvard University professor was becoming an increasingly common sight in Idaho’s state Capitol, where he spent five years lobbying for what he called “the common interest” on behalf of his nonpartisan citizens group. Allred brought together people of all political stripes from throughout the state into a group that collectively studied and debated issues, and where they reached broad consensus, he lobbied for those positions in the state Legislature, with some notable successes.
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.”