Primary voters will head to the polls in Idaho Tuesday to select candidates for a competitive governor’s race. And in a deep-red, essentially one-party state, the winner of this heated, expensive three-way Republican primary will likely be the next governor of Idaho.
Three GOP candidates are in a dead heat: Current Lt. Gov. Brad Little is the establishment favorite. Rep. Raul Labrador, the founder of the House’s ultraconservative Freedom Caucus, is running on a socially conservative, “tough on immigration” agenda and focusing on small government and school choice; plus, he’s anti-Obamacare. Then there’s the political outsider Tommy Ahlquist, a former physician and wealthy real estate developer from Boise.
On the Democratic side, it’s a classic intraparty fight between the old Democratic establishment and a new young, progressive base.
Paulette Jordan, a 38-year-old state legislator and a member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, represents the young, fresh progressive face in the race. She’s picked up all the national endorsements, from Planned Parenthood to People for Bernie Sanders. But the state’s Democratic establishment is lining up behind A.J. Balukoff, a 72-year-old Idaho business executive who ran for governor in 2014.