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Who would be #2?

carlson CHRIS


Alright, political sports fans; since Lt. Governor Brad Little opened this parlor game of “What If . . .” by talking with the Spokesman Review’s Boise correspondent, Betsy Russell, a bit too candidly about how well prepared he is to step up, lets take the game a bit further.

Let’s play who would be Brad’s choice to be his number two? After all, it is possible that Governor Otter could step down mid-way through his third term to give Brad a running start. If he does, Brad can select his own number two subject only to State Senate confirmation

It’s hard to imagine any governor voluntarily quitting two years ahead of time. Has it happened? Sure, but not in Idaho. If Republicans recapture the presidency in 2016, and Butch is asked by the third Bush president to serve in his cabinet, Butch could not say no (David Leroy, the Bush family’s “man on the scene” would have to also bless).

So Brad, could, like John Evans before him, become Governor without having to step on lots of toes. And, heaven forbid, Otter could die in office, and Brad could ascend by that route.

Now the fun begins. There’d be lots of rhetoric about politics having nothing to do with it, that Brad is simply seeking the best person. Pure poppycock. Politics will have everything to do with it and you can bet Brad will have a poll to help him decide.

Allow me to help, Governor Little, and . toss out a few names that should be on your list:

#1. State Senator Shawn Keough (R-Sandpoint). The well-liked executive director of the Associated Logging Contractors of Idaho, was just elected to her tenth term. She’s overcome two vicious Tea Party challenges and is a moderate, pro-education Republican. She is co-chair of the powerful Joint Finance Appropriation committtee.

Senator Keough knows the budget and is more than qualified. And it appears she is the best chance for a woman to break the glass ceiling in Idaho bystepping up from lieutenant governor should Brad also be asked to serve in a Republican Administration.

#2. House Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley). Has done a solid job as Speaker and has adroitly handled the Tea Party types. Smart, does his homework and knows how to lead. Only drawback is he and Brad are a lot alike.

#3. State Senator and Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis (R-Idaho Falls). Smart, tough, caring, a true “compassionate conservative” who could handle any challenge he faces. His and his wife’s appearing before the Idaho Parole Board to speak on behalf of parole for the man who had murdered their son because they were convinced there was true remorse will always stand out as an incredible act reflecting their deeply held faith.

Would bring regional and religious balance to a ticket. Just re-elected to his 9th term despite the Tea Party in Bonneville County trying to censor him three times.

#4. State Senator Russ Fulcher (R-Meridian). Might be Brad’s smartest move especially if he thinks First District Congressman Raul Labrador has a hankering to be governor and would plan on attacking Brad from the right. Fulcher drew a lot of votes and presumably has lots of Tea Party supporters who would be neutralized if he were on a ticket with Brad.

#5. Coeur d’Alene Mayor Steve Widmyer. A sleeper and a darkhorse, but an obvious comer. Intelligent, articulate, successful businessman, a genuine people person, talented with a great sense of humor. Mayor’s post is non-partisan and R’s would be smart to capture him. He would bring energy to the post, would be a fresh face and would charm most everyone. Only drawbacks would be no legislative experience and some would say he is too close to north Idaho business king Duane Hagadone.

There you have it, governor. Put them all on your interview list should the time come. As you know, you’ll cement one friendship and make at least four new enemies. It comes with the territory.

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