- Russ Fulcher
Former Idaho state senator and Tea Party favorite Russ Fulcher (R-Meridian) wants another crack at running for governor.
“Our message of empowerment, advancement and citizen-led state control over federal dependency resonated loudly," Fulcher said of his failed run against Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter in the 2014 GOP primary.
Otter beat Fulcher by more than 12,000 votes in the primary, but the governor has already indicated his current term—his third—will probably be his last, clearing the way for Lt. Gov. Brad Little to wage his own campaign to be Idaho's chief executive.
Little was first to throw his hat into the ring for 2018 when he announced his candidacy for governor in July.
Fulcher, a fourth-generation Idahoan, is a former Micron employee and currently works in real estate. He was appointed to an open Idaho Senate seat in 2005 by then-Gov. Dirk Kempthorne to represent Meridian's 22nd Legislative District. During his four terms in the Senate, Fulcher served as majority caucus leader on the Education and State Affairs committees
At the height of his 2014 campaign, Fulcher called a televised debate that featured Fulcher and Otter alongside fringe candidates Harley Brown and Walt Bayes "a mockery." Video of the Idaho Public Television Debate went viral based on salty comments by Brown, including, "I'm about as politically correct as your proverbial turd in a punch bowl," and statements by Bayes like, "Half the Republican Party is Democrats, and half the Democrats are Communists."
In the wake of the election, Fulcher told Boise Weekly in December 2014, "I did what I did for a reason. I did not make the decision lightly to challenge a member of my own party. To some that's like filing for divorce."
- From left to right: Harley Brown, Walt Bayes, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Russ Fulcher.