Otter Mentor, Ralph Smeed, Dies

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Ralph Smeed, arch-conservative, staunch libertarian and good friend to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, Congressman Walt Minnick and Senator Barry Goldwater died Tuesday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Smeed was a Canyon County rancher, but he was best known for his political leanings. He was a national delegate for Goldwater at the 1964 Republican Convention and in the 1970s, he co-founded the Center for the Study of Market Alternatives. Smeed was also a longtime columnist for a number of daily newspapers across Idaho.

Otter considered Smeed as a major political and personal influence.

Tuesday evening, a communication from the Idaho Freedom Foundation labeled Smeed as "One of our country's greatest defenders of the principles of freedom, a valiant warrior against statism, a mentor and a friend to so many."