The LG succession curse

Acurious little factoid crops up in a chart on Wikipedia concerning Idaho lieutenant governors appointed to follow in the stead of those who move up to governor, resign or die in office:

They don’t seem to be able to win election on their own.

It began with Idaho’s second lieutenant govenror, John Gray, appointed in December 1890 to succeed N.B. Willey, who moved on up to governor when George Shoup quit to become a U.S. senator. Gray had so little support, though, he wasn’t even on the general election ballot in 1892. (Terms were two years long then.)

The last two appointed LGs in recent times, Democrat Bill Murphy in 1977 and Jack Riggs in 2001, ran for election to the office, but neither one: Murphy lost in the 1978 general election, Riggs in the 2002 primary.

The newly-appointed Idaho LG, Mark Ricks, doesn’t have so much to worry about, since he’s not running for the job this year anyway – the man who appointed him, new Governor Jim Risch, is seeking re-election to it. Given the history, maybe just as well.

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