A.J. Balukoff is making the rounds this week — and making his run for governor official.
Balukoff held a rally at Pocatello’s Alameda Middle School Wednesday morning, launching his campaign.
“When I ran four years ago, Idaho was at the bottom of the barrel in education investments, education results and household income, while being a national leader in minimum-wage jobs,” Balukoff said in a news release. “Here we are four years later and nothing has changed. A generation of Idaho children are coming of age without the skills they need to succeed. If elected, I will work every day to make sure the next generation doesn’t suffer the same fate.”
Balukoff, a longtime Boise school trustee, was the Democrats’ candidate for governor in 2014. He spent more than $4 million on his bid to unseat incumbent Butch Otter, with nearly $3.6 million coming from his own pocket. Balukoff received 38.6 percent of the statewide vote and lost to Otter by close to 66,000 votes.
This time around, Otter is not seeking re-election. But three high-profile Republicans are vying for the job: Boise developer and physician Tommy Ahlquist, U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador and Lt. Gov. Brad Little. And Balukoff faces competition in the Democratic primary; state Rep. Paulette Jordan of Plummer entered the race in December.
Balukoff has a kickoff event later Wednesday in Idaho Falls, and events in Twin Falls, Ketchum, Coeur d’Alene and Boise from Thursday through Saturday.