A.J. Balukoff says it makes all the sense in the world to launch a second run for governor of Idaho.
"It usually takes more than once to be successful in whatever you do," he told Boise Weekly hours before officially kicking off his 2018 gubernatorial campaign. "My 2014 campaign was largely about introducing myself to the people of Idaho. I wasn't well-known outside of Boise."
Balukoff, 71, is a 21-year member of the Boise School Board and 12-year member of the St. Luke's West Region Board of Directors. He says his resume couldn't be more in sync with the most critical issues of the 2018 campaign.
"It's all about the constitutional mandate for an equal education opportunity for every child and the moral responsibility to accessibility [of] health care for all Idahoans," said Balukoff.
The lifelong Democrat is spending the first official days of his 2018 campaign in Pocatello and Idaho Falls (Wednesday, Jan. 10), Twin Falls and Ketchum (Thursday, Jan. 11) and Coeur d'Alene (Friday, Jan. 12).
As for just who will represent the Republican party in the general election in November—businessman Tommy Ahlquist, Congressman Raul Labrador and Lieutenant Governor Brad Little are in a tight contest, which will be settled in the May GOP primary—Balukoff says he's too busy focusing on his own campaign to guess. However, given the amount of money Ahlquist, Labrador and Little have already spent, Balukoff says he fully expects the general election to be pricey.
"That's my analysis. It's going to take as much as we spent four years ago," said Balukoff, who spent nearly $3 million of his own funds in his 2014 unsuccessful race against Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.
"We haven't had a democratic governor in Idaho since 1995," said Balukoff. "And the Republicans have had full control of both houses of the legislature since 1961. Idahoans have to be ready for a change."