Idaho Gov. Butch Otter defeated several challengers in the Republican primary Tuesday. The incumbent governor said there’s a lot of work to do going forward, in his campaign and in helping the state economy.
“We’ve let the folks know that we’re serious and that we want to continue what we started these last few years in making the government efficient and living within the taxpayers’ means,” Otter said. He told a crowd at a Republican victory party that he thinks legislative efforts that he called heavy lifting would help lead the state out of the national recession.
Otter will face Democrat Keith Allred of Eagle and several other candidates in the general election. Allred criticized spending reductions for public schools in his remarks after winning the Democratic nomination. Otter said he tried to prevent those reductions. “Nobody wanted to cut back on education,” he told IdahoReporter.com. “If you take a look at the chronology of cuts, education was the last thing we went to, and it was only after we went to the stimulus money and all the savings.” He said other state agencies took larger cuts, and pledged that funding for schools would be restored as state revenues rise. “We cut back everywhere we could in government including corrections and health and welfare long before we went to education. But we were equally concerned about raising taxes.”
One of Otter’s Republican challengers, Ada County Commissioner Sharon Ullman, said she learned from her unsuccessful campaign. “This has been a wonderful educational experience, walking a day in his shoes, looking at things from the state perspective,” she said. Ullman said she will back Otter in the general election. In a primary debate, she criticized Otter for his efforts to raise the price of gasoline and vehicle registration and also mentioned a rumor that Otter may not serve a full term if he is re-elected.
“I pledge to finish out the next four years,” Otter said. He also said that his transportation task force will make recommendations, which could include tax increases, in December, and that those would need lawmakers’ approval. “We’re going to have that opportunity to go back to the Legislature with whatever they come up with, and I don’t know what they’ll come up with.”
Libertarian candidate Ted Dunlap and independents Jana Kemp and Pro-Life will also be on the November ballot with Otter and Allred.
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