Frequent Republican candidate and anti-abortion activist Walt Bayes of Wilder is one of several challengers trying to unseat Gov. Butch Otter in this month’s primary election. Bayes lost to Otter in the GOP primary four years ago, garnering 3.2 percent of the vote. He’s also lost primary races for the Idaho House and Senate. He’s run a self-funded campaign this year, pouring $22,000 into the race, according to the Idaho secretary of state’s reports.
Bayes spoke with IdahoReporter.com, answering several questions.
IdahoReporter.com: Why are you running for governor?
Walt Bayes: “My first reason is to stop abortions. The 8th District Circuit Court ruled that a doctor in South Dakota has to tell a woman that when you’re doing an abortion, you’re killing a human being. It’s a medical fact that life starts at conception. The Idaho Constitution says that all men, and that means all living humans, are entitled to certain inalienable rights among which are enjoying life. They’ve got a right to enjoy life, they’ve got a right to live.
“If I’m elected, the first thing I’ll do is sign the oath. The second thing I’ll do is sign an emergency order stopping abortions.
(Bayes sued Otter and the state to stop abortions in Idaho. He lost in district court, but is appealing the decision.)
“Next up, wolves are flat not interstate commerce. They’re none of the federal government’s business, and it’s up to Idaho to decide what we’ll do with them.
“Next, when our constitution says that the government is instituted for the equal benefit and protection of everybody, it entitles our private schools and home schoolers, once they prove they’ve got a year’s education, to the same amount of money they’d receive from the state for attending public schools.
“One more thing that I’m real hard on is that if I become governor, there won’t be any Idaho citizen thrown in jail or fined for not buying health insurance. It’s absolutely ridiculous to think that you can make a person buy health insurance. I just don’t believe they can do it legally.
“Other than that, I’m just a pretty run-of-the-mill Republican.”
IR: How would you handle wolves in Idaho?
WB: “The (Idaho Department of) Fish and Game and our Legislature have tried to get along with our federal government, and I don’t particularly try to do things that way. I would like to classify wolves as predators and let people shoot them year-round and get rid of them. There’s no sense having them in there. Wolves, elk, coyotes, deer, those are all state business. The federal government’s got nothing to do with it.”
IR: Why should Idaho offer state funding for private schools and home school students?
WB: “I’m thinking it’ll go down from where it is now once we get some competition in there. Because we have lots of private schools, and I haven’t talked to one of them that wouldn’t be plum-tickled to get $4,000 a student, whereas public schools think it should be higher than $8,000. I think once you get some competition in there, they’d all come around.”
IR: Some supporters of home school education don’t want testing requirements on their students. What’s your response to that?
WB: “I can understand that, because they don’t figure it’s any of the government’s business, but I think any time you’re putting out state money for something, you ought to see that you’re getting what you’re paying for. I honestly think that if we do that with the public school, then our children’s grades would go up.”
IR: Why are you opposed to health care legislation approved by Congress and President Obama?
WB: “Obama was elected president. He’s not supposed to be an insurance salesman. What he’s doing is saying everyone has to get (insurance) or we’ll throw you in jail or fine you. It’s a scare tactic, and I don’t go for it. I know some really nice people who absolutely will not go to a hospital no matter who’s paying for it. And that’s their business, not mine and not Obama’s.”
Bays said Otter’s effort to file a lawsuit against the federal government is one of the few things he approves of.
IR: How would you have handled this year’s state budget, which included spending reductions for public schools and no revenue increases?
WB: “Butch said they couldn’t raise taxes because it’s an election year. I don’t have the intention to raise taxes if it ain’t an election year. Whenever you run out of money and your income is dropped, you have to cut other things. There’ll be people that’ll have to be laid off by the state and there’ll be other people that’ll have to do more work. I’ve raised 16 kids, and a lot of that time I was on disability. My wife and I would draw about $1,000 a month, and the kids would work for the rest of it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d go out to the field and work with them, but what you can do after you lose 30 percent (mobility) from the neck down and you’re legally blind is not a lot. I’ve learned that you can get by. You’ve got to use your mind.
“We’re going to have to look all over and cut every place that we can.”
IR: How is your campaign going?
WB: “I’m doing pretty good actually. I went over to southeastern Idaho and was received really well there. That’s probably the best place I’ve been. They said there was nobody but Butch and (Rex) Rammell running down there, and they didn’t want either one of them. I think I’ve got a pretty good chance down there.”
Ada County Commissioner Sharon Ullman, Tamara Wells of Post Falls, and Pete Peterson of Boise are also on the GOP primary ballot for governor.