Idaho Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Russ Fulcher says Gov. Butch Otter's statement last week that Idaho's greatest challenge in the new year is electing Otter to a third term is further evidence that the two-term incumbent's "priorities are not the same as the rest of us."
Fulcher, Otter's challenger in the May 20 GOP primary, is reacting to a Monday Idaho Politics post that reported Otter 's reply to a questioner at an Idaho Associated General Contractors meeting that the state's "greatest challenge" in 2014 is "gettin' me re-elected."
Otter shared a big laugh with a sympathetic crowd Friday and added that keeping the GOP supermajority in the Legislature and "stayin' the course" also were important. (The winner of Fulcher-Otter will face Democrat A.J. Balukoff in November.)
Fulcher, of Meridian, wasn't amused, issuing the following news release late Monday:
"Speaking to the Associated General Contractors, Butch Otter joked that the biggest challenge for the State of Idaho in 2014 is going to be 'gettin' me re-elected.' Senator Russ Fulcher couldn't disagree more.
"Senator Fulcher stated, 'Governor Otter just expressed that his priorities are not the same as the rest of us. Idaho's greatest challenge is not his re-election. Its controlling our own healthcare with a patient-centered, free-market system; creating jobs by gaining access to our natural resources; improving education by empowering teachers and parents; and setting Idaho's terms when it comes to federal programs.'
"Fulcher continued, 'That said, I do understand his anxiety. If my legacy was characterized by fighting to raise gas taxes and voluntarily implementing Obamacare state exchanges, I would be anxious, too.'"