Arkoosh announces bipartisan slate of campaign co-chairs

Tom Arkoosh

(UPDATED, 5:36 p.m., with response from Labrador campaign,)

Democratic attorney general’s candidate Tom Arkoosh made another appeal across party lines Tuesday, announcing a bipartisan roster of five campaign co-chairs.

The list includes two prominent Republicans, former Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and former state Treasurer Lydia Justice Edwards; two Democrats, former Attorney General Tony Park and former state legislator Cherie Buckner-Webb, who now serves on the College of Western Idaho’s board of trustees; and Judi Danielson, a former Republican lawmaker and Boise County commissioner, who now describes herself as a political independent.

The co-chairs all criticized Republican attorney general’s nominee Raúl Labrador, saying the former congressman, gubernatorial candidate and state GOP chairman would cater to the party’s far-right wing.

“This election is about good government,” Ysursa said in a news release. “The rule of law is under attack at all levels, and we must protect it.”

In the same news release, Arkoosh said Labrador would attempt to use the attorney general’s office as a stepping stone for another run for governor.

“My promise is to run a law office, not a campaign headquarters,” he said.

Labrador campaign adviser Brent Littlefield dismissed Tuesday’s announcement. “The guy who claims he is not a politician has surrounded himself with a pile of old politicians.”

This isn’t Arkoosh’s first move to cross party lines. His campaign treasurer is Jim Jones, a former Republican attorney general and state Supreme Court justice.

The Labrador campaign, and current state GOP chair Dorothy Moon, have accused Arkoosh’s campaign of backroom dealing. Arkoosh voted in the May Republican primary, and later switched his party affiliation.

Arkoosh formally announced his candidacy on July 26, replacing fellow Boise attorney Steve Scanlin, who withdrew from the Democratic ticket.

Meanwhile, the Arkoosh campaign is touting a brisk start to fundraising.

On Thursday, the campaign reported receiving more than $82,000 during Arkoosh’s first days in the race. This fundraising haul mirrors Labrador’s fundraising in November, during his first few days in the race, Betsy Russell of the Idaho Press reported.

Arkoosh’s early donors include former Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Boise school trustee AJ Balukoff and his wife, Susie, who contributed the maximum $5,000 apiece; and Jones, who contributed $2,000.

To date, Arkoosh has raised about $92,000 and spent less than $5,000, according to the secretary of state’s office. Labrador has raised nearly $648,000, but he has spent more than $561,000 — mostly during the Republican primary, when Labrador unseated 20-year incumbent Lawrence Wasden and defeated fellow challenger Art Macomber.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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