Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter filed to run for a second term today, after months of evasiveness about his plans.
Otter told an Idaho Press Club breakfast a few weeks ago that he did not want to start campaigning before the Legislature settled on a direction on his proposals. With the largest state budgets now set, Otter announced today that Debbie Field will take a leave of absence from her post as Idaho Drug Czar to manage his campaign. Field also ran the Otter campaign in 2006.
Otter has scheduled a campaign launch tour after the legislative session ends, but he did fill out paperwork with the Idaho Secretary of State, joining a crowded field for the May 25 GOP Primary Election.
Field said that Otter takes the Primary seriously and has been connecting with voters through his Capitol for a Day program, in which he holds court in a different county seat across the state once a month, and on the GOP Lincoln Day circuit.
“It’s more important than ever that people who want to be elected listen to the people,” Field said.
Otter also announced a new Finance Director, Kendra Waitley, of Boise, and new Eastern Idaho Regional Coordinator, Sheila Olsen, of Idaho Falls.
Waitley worked for Citadel Broadcasting, which owns KBOI 670 and Kissin' 91 radio stations, among others, and she worked for former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig and for the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C.
Olsen, a Republican activist and member of the Idaho Commission on Human Rights, amazingly has 10 children, 36 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
Olsen replaces Otter's 2006 East Idaho Chair, Sharon Parry, an Idaho Falls city councilor and long-time Republican who signed on with Democratic challenger Kieth Allred recently. Parry told the Post-Register that Otter has not been able to connect with Idaho citizens during his first term.
Allred filed to run earlier this week, saying that Otter is out of ideas for turning the economy around.
“The fact that Otter has drawn primary opposition of this scale shows that other people in Idaho are dissatisfied with his leadership,” Allred spokesman Shea Andersen told citydesk.
Otter faces at least three opponents in the May primary.
Walter Bayes, an anti-abortion activist from Wilder who also has quite a few offspring to his name, filed to run, again. Rex Rammell, a large-animal veterinarian from Idaho Falls who is running to fulfill his own version of a Mormon prophecy has been feeding Idahoans across the state to introduce them to his message. Unfortunately, he did not bring his spaghetti to Boise, but you can catch him tonight in Payette.