Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter says he will seek a third term. Good! With the way he is “mailing it in” that may provide Democrats with the first real opportunity to occupy the executive chair since then Attorney General Larry Echohawk lost to Phil Batt in 1994.
In 2014 it will have been 20 years since an Idaho Democrat held the office. If one thinks history is a guide, and has noted the 24 year cycles, then Butch will get his third term in 2014 and the Democrats won’t recapture the governor’s chair until 2018.
Governor C.A. “Doc” Robins began a 24 year Republican hold on the office when he ousted Arnold Williams in 1946. Cecil Andrus began a 24 year Democratic hold when he ousted Republican Don Samuelson in 1970.
The key question though is can Idaho Democrats pick out a winner in 2014 or 2018, someone who can make the case for moderation and a non-ideological, bi-partisan approach to attacking and solving Idaho’s many challenges?
Democrats may start to get some idea who might be their next standard bearer when they attend the annual Frank Church Dinner on February 25th in Boise. The event is returning to the Riverside Inn and will allow potential candidates to host hospitality rooms.
In the run-up to securing the 2014 nomination here are five individuals to keep an eye on:
1) State Rep. Brian Cronin. If education is the issue, and whether the loony Luna/Otter phony reform package is repealed this November will be a real indicator, the 41-year-old Minority Caucus chair from District 19 is well positioned to speak out forcefully. An education consultant he has an Ed. M in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard that he received in 1995.
His thoughtful and articulate critique of the many deficiencies in the reform package won respect from proponents who couldn’t help being charmed by his ability to disagree without being disagreeable. The Idaho Education Association would be a source of both funding and volunteers if he were to run.
2) State Senator Michelle Stennett. The 51-year-old Senate Minority Caucus chair represents Blaine County (District 25), the center of the “wine and cheese” liberal Democrats in Idaho. With a minor in business to go along with her degree from the University of Oregon in International Studies and Latin Languages, she also loves to hunt, fish, camp and horseback ride. Thus, she also has a foot in the “lunch-bucket” Democrats camp as well. (more…)