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.
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.