John Bujak has left the Republican Party for the Libertarian Party and he hopes to lure other disgusted voters his way in a long-shot run for Idaho governor.
The former embattled Canyon County prosecutor has displayed remarkable survival instincts taking every shot critics, including his ex-wife have thrown at him. Even if he doesn’t win, which is unlikely, he has the real chance to keep Idaho Gov. Butch Otter from getting a third term.
He's opposed to Common Core, expansion of Medicaid and to what he calls the "good old boy" network that he says controls politics in Idaho.
If Democratic Boise Businessman A.J. Balukoff shows Idahoans he can lead the state with his campaign focused on changing and increasing funding for education, Bujak’s candidacy offers disgruntled libertarian-leaning voters a way to “punish” Otter, in the words of GOP Rep. Vito Barbieri of Dalton Gardens, without voting for a Democrat.
From 2010 to 2014 Bujak had state and federal charges filed against him for misuse of public funds, theft, bankruptcy fraud, falsifying evidence and hiding a Rolex watch from creditors, the last charge from his ex-wife. He even lost his license to practice law.
In the end he was cleared of all charges and restored his rights to serve as an attorney.
So now he’s running for governor and Betsy Russell, the Idaho reporter for the Spokesman-Review has a good profile of him. She quotes Jasper LiCalzi, professor of political economy at the College of Idaho on his chances.
“If Bujak can make himself seem respectable, that you shouldn’t be embarrassed to vote for him, that’s a big deal,” LiCalzi told Russell. “I don’t know if he really wants to be governor, but if he could make a black eye for the Republican establishment, I think he’d be ecstatic. He’s a wild card in this.”
When I talked to Bujak about his website: www.liberalotter.com, an apparent reference to the Idaho Prosperity Fund’s similar site about Balukoff, he acknowledged his run is a long-shot. And his site also calls Balukoff, who gave money to Mitt Romney and voted for him, a liberal.
So unlike LiCalzi, I'm convinced he’d love to be governor. If he catches fire and gets a high percentage of votes in November, I’m not sure he won’t be back for more.