Balukoff touts bipartisan endorsements

It’s almost expected for an Idaho Democratic candidate to trumpet a bipartisan slate of endorsements, and Monday was gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff’s turn. He unveiled four Treasure Valley endorsements — including two from Republicans.

The endorsements came from Boise Mayor Dave Bieter; community activist and former Boise School District trustee Bev Harad; former state Rep. Steve Smylie, a Boise Republican and son of former Gov. Robert Smylie; and Gary Multanen, owner of Best Bath Systems of Caldwell and a self-described Republican.

Balukoff announcement
A.J. Balukoff, at his campaign kickoff in December.

The Bieter and Harad endorsements are pro forma. Bieter introduced Balukoff at his gubernatorial campaign kickoff in December. Harad contributed $5,000 to Balukoff’s nascent campaign late last year.

But in a Balukoff news release, Smylie says he has never endorsed a Democrat before, and Multanen said he had voted for Republican Gov. Butch Otter “in every election in which I was eligible.”

Said Smylie: “(Balukoff’s) leadership on the Boise School Board made the district one of the best in the nation. … Balukoff is honest, experienced, knowledgeable, and leads with a style that seeks consensus, not ideology.”

Said Multanen: “I’m tired of Idaho ranking first or second from the bottom in numerous meaningful categories including: investment in education, percentage of minimum wage, and per capita income.”

A little backstory: In 2008, Balukoff’s name appeared on a list 60 Republicans supporting Democrat Walt Minnick’s successful bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Bill Sali.

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