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Butch's Ma Spills the Beans

Matriarch divulges congressman's past as a big baby

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C.L. "Butch" Otter a priest? It almost happened. Or at least it once figured prominently in his future plans.

These and other revelations recently came to select mothers, churchgoers and other potential voters via a very personal note from Otter's 90-year-old mother, Regina Otter. Obviously the Republican congressional representative and future gubernatorial candidate ditched a vow of poverty for a different kind of oath and economic class-and not to mention an infamous tight jeans contest crown-but Otter's mom wants us to know that behind the Idaho gubernatorial candidate's political persona lies a really sweet, hardworking Catholic boy. And a very big one at that. His birth weight tipped the scales at 11 lbs. 3 oz.

"I said, 'How did you do that?'" recalls Otter campaign ringleader, State Rep. Debbie Field (R-Boise). A pair of twins helped pave the way, the mother of nine Otters told Field. The letter simply called big Butch's entry into the world "challenging." But that's not all the maternal note had to say.

Ms. Otter writes that after Butch took her on a tour of the U.S. Capitol, showed her where he sat before he voted and introduced her to his Congressional buddies, she was "amazed that the boy I remember milking cows on our ranch and winning his first scramble calf competition at the state fair is now representing us in the United States Congress."

The letter, printed on pastel lavender stationary, hardly looks like your run-of-the-mill campaign literature. And the contents barely touch on politics. Think more intimate, like you just received a Christmas card complete with photographs from a dear old grandmother. Otter's mom, it turns out, wants us to know her millionaire son she called "little cowboy" was once your average Joe, who helped harvest 100 bushels of grain to the acre.

She also doesn't want us to forget the little cowboy was a good Catholic kind of fella right from the start. So the Otter campaign tucked a photo of the little cowboy's First Holy Communion in the envelopes mailed to Catholic constituents-one of the fastest growing religious groups in the state. And by the way, Field says, you'll find Otter attending mass every chance he gets since "he's a very active Catholic."

Finally, in case you were wondering, Ms. Otter wants you to vote for her 11-pounder. Also, she says her kid could use a little of your cash-just 50 bucks or so.

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