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Barbara Morgan for Idaho School Superintendent?

“We haven’t put any pressure on her, but we would love to recruit her.”

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UPDATE: March 7, 2013

A few minutes after Wednesday's Boise Weekly hit the streets, the rumor mill picked up some speed.

Our story in this week's edition of Idaho Democrats' desire to get former astronaut and current Boise State professor Barbara Morgan to run for Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction was recirculated by media across the state and an online petition drive was launched at change.org.

"Please be a candidate," says the petition, which has picked up 80-plus online "signatures."

"Barbara Morgan would be an amazing state school superintendent," outgoing Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Larry Grant told BW. "She hasn't said 'no.' We haven't put any pressure on her, but we would love to recruit her."

When BW asked Morgan about Grant's comments, she called the rumor "interesting," adding, "For many years, ever since I first got here, people have asked about that. But I've been asked about many other things, too."

Among some of the online comments at change.org:

"This is possibly the best idea I've ever heard! This position has the potential to be so much more than it is being used for today and Barbara Morgan could be the one that really shows what a great superintendent can do and blast us from the lowest of the rankings to the highest!"

Your service and dedication and your years as a teacher would unite our profession and influence policy that would truly improve education in Idaho."

"Barbara Morgan has what it takes to right the ship and steer it back on course."

ORIGINAL STORY: March 6, 2013

The parlor game of guessing who might run for political office usually begins the morning after the previous election.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has already indicated that he likes his job just fine, and anyone interested in taking down the rodeo king better bring his or her best spurs to the 2013 GOP primary and general election.

That didn't stop Idaho's 1st Congressional District Rep. Raul Labrador from telling a Meridian town hall in January that he was mulling his own run for governor. But apparently, the second-term congressman may have had a change of heart, canceling two planned high-profile Republican appearances in eastern Idaho's 2nd Congressional District, where he is less known.

None of this is stopping Democrats from weighing in on whom they would like to see as governor.

Outgoing Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Larry Grant said he felt a bit more "freedom" in his prognostications since he wasn't holding the top office for Idaho Dems anymore, recently tossing the keys to incoming Chairman Larry Kenck (BW, News, "Same Name, Different Face," Feb. 27, 2013).

"I think [Boise Mayor] Dave Bieter would be the perfect candidate," said Grant.

But the big jaw-dropper came when Grant floated another name to run as a candidate for Idaho superintendent of public instruction.

"But you can't print this until you talk to her," said Grant, building the anticipation. "Barbara Morgan would be an amazing state school superintendent. She hasn't said 'no.' We haven't put any pressure on her, but we would love to recruit her."

Indeed, BW contacted Morgan--former McCall-area elementary school teacher, astronaut and current Boise State professor--about Grant's comments. She greeted the remarks with extended laughter.

"That's funny," said Morgan. "I really can't tell you anything, but that's an interesting rumor."

Morgan laughed through much of the conversation, repeating, "I really have nothing to say."

"For many years, ever since I first got here, people have asked about that," she said. "But I've been asked about many other things, too."

Morgan added that it was important that as a Boise State Distinguished Educator in Residence, she often works with different government agencies.

"So I would like to stay nice and nonpartisan," she said.

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