The primaries aren’t until next May, but the Republican candidates in the 2018 race for Idaho governor are hard at work.
U.S. Rep. Raúl Labrador will hold the official kickoff of his campaign for governor with events next week in Boise, Post Falls and Idaho Falls.
Lt. Gov. Brad Little, hoping to succeed the retiring Gov. Butch Otter and running with Otter’s endorsement, announced his statewide county campaign coordinators Wednesday.
Boise developer Tommy Ahlquist, already deeply invested in campaign advertising, released a new commercial.
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Former state Sen. Russ Fulcher has a Memorial Day barbecue scheduled at his Meridian campaign headquarters.
And there is a fifth Republican officially in the race: Boise’s Lisa Marie, a prior candidate for Congress. Two others have filed as independents, Michael Richardson, of Boise, and John Thomas Wiechec, of Middleton. Troy Minton, a homeless Boise man, has filed to run as a Democrat. The 2014 Democratic candidate for governor, A.J. Balukoff, is said to be weighing a second run.
Campaign strategy is apparent in each candidate’s moves. Ahlquist’s ad, titled “Work” and running statewide on TV and online, touts his work ethic as a doctor, entrepreneur and businessman. Little’s announcement of statewide coordinators underscores the breadth and depth of his organization.
And one of Labrador’s announcements, in Idaho Falls, will be at the global headquarters of Melaleuca, the company owned by Frank VanderSloot, a major Republican donor. But that shouldn’t be read as an endorsement, a spokesman for VanderSloot said.
“We rent the facility to groups that need it,” said spokesman Rusty Cannon. “Community events at Melaleuca should not be interpreted to be an endorsement by Melaleuca or any of its officers, including Mr. VanderSloot.”
The Statesman’s Bill Dentzer contributed.