Butch Otter's Unhappy Anniversary


Sunday may have been a day that Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter would rather forget.

Twenty years ago, newspapers throughout Idaho ran front page headlines saying that Otter—who was then the state's lieutenant governor—had been convicted of a misdemeanor DUI on March 10, 1993.

In 1992, Otter was stopped by law enforcement on I-84 near Meridian for suspicion of driving under the influence. Otter had claimed that he was reaching for his cowboy hat, leading him to swerve his vehicle. But after Otter failed field sobriety tests, he said that he had hurt his knee and that he had soaked his chewing tobacco in Jack Daniels.

When Otter was convicted in 1993, he was sentenced to a 30-day suspension of driving privileges, 72 hours of community service and 16 hours in an alcohol treatment program.

"It may well be the end of my political career," Otter told reporters at the time.

But Otter went on to win re-election as lieutenant governor in 1994 and 1998, before becoming a U.S. congressman in 2001 and Idaho's chief executive in 2007.