The wide-ranging, party-dividing endorsements of Idaho’s 2018 election

Democrat Paulette Jordan and Republican Lt. Gov. Brad Little shake hands after a 2018 debate on Idaho Public Television.
Democrat Paulette Jordan and Republican Lt. Gov. Brad Little shake hands after a 2018 debate on Idaho Public Television. AP Photo

Idaho candidates this fall have picked up endorsements from global superstars and small-town mayors, national food brands and local beet growers.

Among the endorsements are a few Republicans crossing party lines to support Democratic candidates. Idaho’s largest teachers union, which usually endorses Democrats, threw its support behind two Republican candidates for Congress and governor.

Republican candidate Janice McGeachin is notably missing support from GOP Gov. Butch Otter.

In a last-minute surprise, Otter endorsed Proposition 2 to expand Medicaid coverage in Idaho on Tuesday, just a week before the election. The ballot initiative has attracted a wide range of other support. Its critics include a group of 29 lawmakers and legislative candidates, some of whom also opposed similar measures at the Statehouse.

Election Day is on Nov. 6, when Idahoans will choose a new slate of leaders in the Capitol and in Congress. Catch up on the candidates and their political positions with the Idaho Statesman’s voter guide.

Check out the endorsements for Idaho’s statewide candidates, and scroll down to see who’s taking a stand for and against the horse-racing and Medicaid expansion ballot initiatives:


Paulette Jordan, Democratic candidate for governor. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com

Paulette Jordan (D)

  • Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii: “As we lead the charge against attacks on health care access and reproductive rights, we know Jordan will stand strong in her leadership on important issues for women and families.”

  • Boise Mayor Dave Bieter: “Her support for common-sense solutions to the challenges we face, such as her support for Medicaid expansion, are exactly what this state needs.”

  • Idaho AFL-CIO: “We look forward to supporting her campaign as we fight to increase workers’ rights, wages and pursuit of happiness.”

  • Pop superstar Cher, in a tweet: “She is a thoughtful, Caring,Intelligent,Woman,Who Would Work TIRELESSLY 2 BENEFIT”ALL THE PPL”Of IDAHO❤️

  • CNN commentator Van Jones: “Paulette has made it clear that she’ll stand up for the people who haven’t always had a voice in Idaho’s government — from the folks in rural areas to the indigenous populations to the hardworking families who often struggle to get by.”

  • Gold Star father Khizr Khan: “She has a vision for an America where everyone has a seat at the table — not just those who have traditionally held political power.”

  • United Action for Idaho: “Paulette Jordan gives hope to the people of Idaho that their values and interest will be represented.”
  • Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen: “In today’s polarizing political atmosphere, Idaho truly has the unique opportunity for a governor ‘of the people, by the people, for the people,’ and Paulette Jordan is that candidate.”

  • Electrical Workers Local 77 PAC: “The endorsement acknowledges your interests in issues affecting workers and your commitment to addressing the needs of all hard-working men and women.”

  • Former Democratic primary rival AJ Balukoff: “We know that Paulette’s message of inclusivity, putting people over party and rooting out corporate corruption in our government is resonating across the state and across party lines.”

  • Nez Perce Tribe Executive Committee

  • People for the American Way

  • Democracy for America

  • Indivisible

  • People for Bernie Sanders

  • Challis Mayor Michael Barrett and Lapwai Mayor Iona Ruth McConville
  • Demi Moore
brad little 03
Brad Little, Republican candidate for governor. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com

Brad Little (R)

  • Republican Gov. Butch Otter: “Brad is a true Republican, a commonsense conservative, and the one you want leading Idaho.”

  • Idaho Medical Association: “He truly understands the issues and knows which solutions will work and which ones will not work; Brad doesn’t get hung up on ideology.”

  • Idaho Grain Producers Association: “Brad Little understands agriculture and our challenges, and he has already proven his commitment to our industry in advocating infrastructure and greater trade relationships to get our products to market.”

  • Former Gov. and Republican Sen. Jim Risch: “Brad Little has the experience and qualifications needed to be Idaho’s next governor.”

  • Idaho Realtors: “Lt. Gov. Brad Little’s plan to grow Idaho’s economy is straightforward, it is achievable, and it will help keep Idaho’s greatest asset, our children, in the Gem State for generations to come.”

  • Idaho State Dental Association: “We watched him fight Obamacare before, and he is doing it again with his executive order and pledge to private insurance and a health care market that really is affordable.”

  • Idaho Cattle Association: “Brad is always looking for ways to turn our agricultural commodities into thriving businesses and it is critical that we put someone who office who cares about our rural and urban areas.”

  • Former secretary of state Ben Ysursa: “In 40 years of managing elections in Idaho, I noticed a few characteristics that the best candidates — and leaders — have in common. They talk less and do more. They under promise and over deliver. They are collaborative. They take the long view even when it’s unpopular in the here-and-now. ... Brad Little embodies those qualities.“

  • Professional Fire Fighters of Idaho: “His experience makes him the best candidate to lead Idaho in the right direction and allow organizations like ours to have a seat at the table when important decisions that affect us are being made.”

  • Idaho Associated General Contractors: “He knows that construction is the foundation for a prosperous economy and as we have already seen in his service to the state, Brad has shown himself to be dedicated to smart and responsible growth, and improving income wages for working families.”

  • Associated Logging Contractors: “Brad also believes in our efforts to expand our workforce, so we can keep up with the demands of today’s timber industry.”

  • Melaleuca Inc. CEO Frank VanderSloot: “We are giving our full 100 percent endorsement to Brad Little,” VanderSloot told EastIdahoNews.com Oct. 25. “He is certainly the most experienced in governance, we know his track record, we know him (and) he’s been a part of Idaho government for almost 20 years.”

  • Idaho State Controller Brandon Woolf: “His passion and commitment stand out every time we travel this great state meeting with Idahoans.”

  • National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund

  • Idaho Education Association
  • Former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt

  • Former Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne

  • Former Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa

  • Idaho Statesman Editorial Board

Lieutenant governor

Kristin Collum, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com

Kristin Collum (D)

  • Boise Mayor Dave Bieter

  • Paulette Jordan, gubernatorial candidate

  • Idaho AFL-CIO

  • Conservation Voters for Idaho

  • National Organization for Women’s PAC, Southwest Idaho chapter

  • Jessica Ripple, co-founder of Idaho Moms for a Brighter Future

  • Former Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire

  • United Action for Idaho

  • Idaho Statesman Editorial Board

  • Former Republican attorney general and Justice Jim Jones

Janice McGeachin, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com

Janice McGeachin (R)

  • National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund

  • Attorney General Lawrence Wasden

  • Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra, currently running for re-election

  • Former lieutenant governor and attorney general Dave Leroy

  • Republican Liberty Caucus of Idaho

  • Former Sen. Sherry Nuxoll

Story continues below

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Congressional District 1 (western Idaho)

Russ Fulcher, Republican candidate for 1st Congressional District. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com

Russ Fulcher (R)

  • Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot

  • Idaho Treasurer Ron Crane

  • Meridian Mayor Tammy deWeerd

  • Outgoing Rep. Raul Labrador

  • National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund

  • The Club for Growth

  • Family Research Council

  • Idaho Chooses Life

  • Idaho Statesman Editorial Board

cristina mcneil 03
Cristina McNeil, Democratic candidate for 1st Congressional District. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com

Cristina McNeil (D)

  • Idaho State AFL-CIO

  • United Action for Idaho

Congressional District 2 (eastern Idaho)

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Rep. Mike Simpson, Republican candidate for U.S. House in Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com

Mike Simpson (R)

  • Republican Gov. Butch Otter

  • Sen. Mike Crapo

  • Sen. Jim Risch

  • National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund

  • US Chamber of Commerce

  • National Federation of Independent Business

  • Idaho Education Association

  • Idaho Grain Producers Association

  • Idaho Cattle Association

  • Idaho Sugar Beet Growers Association

  • National Wildlife Federation Action Fund

  • Idaho Statesman Editorial Board

swisher, aaron BLACK
Aaron Swisher, Democratic candidate for U.S. House in Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District. Darin Oswald doswald@idahostatesman.com

Aaron Swisher (D)

  • Idaho State AFL-CIO

  • United Action for Idaho

Superintendent of public instruction

cindy wilson 02
Cindy Wilson, Democratic candidate for superintendent of public instruction. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com

Cindy Wilson (D)

  • Idaho Education Association

  • Republican businessman Frank VanderSloot

  • Former Republican attorney general and Justice Jim Jones

  • Idaho State AFL-CIO

  • Idaho Statesman Editorial Board

sherry ybarra 02
Sherri Ybarra, superintendent of public instruction and the Republican candidate running for re-election. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com

Sherri Ybarra (R)

  • Republican Gov. Butch Otter

  • Lt. Gov. Brad Little, Republican gubernatorial candidate

  • Secretary of State Lawerence Denney

  • State Controller Brandon Woolf

  • Treasurer Ron Crane

  • Attorney General Lawrence Wasden

  • Former lieutenant governor and attorney general Dave Leroy

Proposition 1: Historical horse-racing machines


  • The Committee to Save Idaho Horse Racing, Create Jobs and Fund Public Schools

  • Treasure Valley Racing

  • Republican Gov. Butch Otter

  • Boise Mayor Dave Bieter

  • Lt. Gov. Brad Little, gubernatorial candidate

  • Tommy Ahlquist, former Republican gubernatorial candidate

  • Idaho Freedom Foundation

  • Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce


  • Idaho United Against Prop 1

  • Garden City Mayor John Evans

  • Paulette Jordan, gubernatorial candidate

  • AJ Balukoff, former Democratic candidate for governor and Boise School District trustee

  • Coeur d’Alene Tribe

  • North Idaho Voter Project

  • United Action for Idaho
  • Idaho Statesman Editorial Board

Read Next

Proposition 2: Medicaid expansion


  • Paulette Jordan, gubernatorial candidate
  • Republican Gov. Butch Otter
  • Saint Alphonsus Health System

  • St. Luke’s Health System

  • Idaho Medical Association

  • Idaho Primary Care Association

  • Idaho Hospital Association

  • Idaho Rural Health Association

  • Idaho Psychological Association

  • Idaho American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

  • United Way of Treasure Valley

  • Idaho Sheriffs’ Association

  • Clif Bar

  • Chobani

  • Idaho AFL-CIO

  • United Action for Idaho
  • Boise Metro Chamber

  • Intermountain Gas
  • House Health and Welfare Chairman Fred Wood

  • Idaho Statesman Editorial Board


  • Americans for Tax Reform

  • Idaho Freedom Foundation

  • Work, Not Obamacare PAC

  • Janice McGeachin, candidate for lieutenant governor

  • 30 sitting lawmakers and eight legislative candidates, including House Assistant Majority Leader Brent Crane and Majority Caucus Chairman John Vander Woude.

Read Next

This article may be updated with additional endorsements ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Republican Sherri Ybarra lacked a notable endorsement. Gov. Butch Otter endorsed Ybarra on Oct. 15.

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