Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Race of the Day- Idaho Governor

83 Days Until Election Day

Status: Republican Incumbent
2012 Presidential Result: Red State (West)

Outlook: Safe Republican

This year, so many incumbent Governors, in all sorts of states, seem to be struggling with public opinion. As Republican Butch Otter seeks a third term at the helm of the Potato State, he seems to have had a sizable amount of people in his state wish someone else was Governor. I really am not up on why that might be the case. In Gubernatorial races, it usually comes down to local issues. After having won a primary though, Otter is looking like a sure thing to stick around for four more years. The state has just become so Republican, that the election was basically settled in the May primary.

Leading up to 2014, there was much talk that Republican Congressman Raul Labrador was so unhappy with Otter, that he was prepared to give up a safe House seat to return home and run for Governor. A favorite of the Tea Party, Labrador ultimately decided to stay put, he would endorse State Senator Russ Fulcher to oppose Otter. There was not too much talk about Otter being in grave danger of losing the nomination, but his campaign clearly took the threat seriously. A televised debate, right before the primary was scheduled, and Otter's campaign insisted that all the candidates on the ballot be included, in order for the incumbent to participate. Some highlights from the debate went viral as two little known perennial candidates said some interesting things and looked interesting doing it. I believe one was dressed as a biker while one looked like Santa Claus, or perhaps one was a biker Santa Claus. The guy named Butch Otter was dressed in a suit though. In any event, they were the story of the event, and Otter basically was able to fly under the radar, to his benefit, and anything Fulcher tried to say was pretty much buried. That was definitely a shrewd strategy by the Otter campaign. When Republicans went to the polls, Otter prevailed, but with an unimpressive 51 percent of the vote. For whatever reason, a lot of Idaho Republicans wanted Butch Otter to retire. The name Fulcher may not equal ballot magic for whatever reason as well. Labrador, who since made a failed attempt to get elected House Republican Leader, may now realize that he may have been able to win the primary.

Democrats delivered 65 percent of their primary vote to Gubernatorial nominee and businessman A.J. Balukoff, who is also the President of the Boise School District Board of Trustees. In years past, he would have a real opportunity to take advantage of the problems his opponent has with his base. I expected to see polls, showing a surprisingly close race for the incumbent, as seen in states like Kansas this year, but in the small sample size of polls that have been released, Otter is still at or above 50 percent of the vote. He is definitely weakened from his past elections, but Idaho is just so conservative that there are apparently not enough people willing to entertain the notion of voting for a Democrat statewide.

There will be Independent and third party candidates on the ballot, and since Otter apparently is having issues with people on the right, I expect there to be a sizable protest vote against him. When all is said and done, he may very well fall under a majority of the vote. There is just nothing out there to suggest that he could possibly lose in November.  He will manage to win the general election against a reasonably credible Democrat and fringe candidate opposition by the same sort of "divide and conquer" strategy that won him the primary.

Otter campaign link:

Gubernatorial races predicted thus far: 4 D (1 Safe, 1 Leans, 2 Tossup) , 7 R (2 Safe, 1 Likely, 4 Leans)
Overall totals predicted thus far: 11 D, 14 R (net Republican gain of 1)


At 7:54 AM, Anonymous Conservative Democrat said...

Expect 2014 to be Otter's LAST political campaign because of several factors:

1.) Otter's constant refusal to live in the newly-built governor's mansion.

2.) Fatigue after 12 years by 2018.

3.) Unimpressive numbers, etc.,


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