Chairman: Democrats have candidates in pipeline

Democrats have three or four potential candidates for governor, and another three or four people looking at a run for superintendent of public instruction, state party chairman Larry Kenck says.

Larry Kenck
Larry Kenck, Idaho Democratic Party chairman

“I am really amazed and excited,” Kenck told Idaho Education News on Tuesday. “It’s going to be a very good election season.”

But if you want names, you’re going to have to wait for some other day.

Last week, Kenck called out Gov. Butch Otter and state superintendent Tom Luna, saying the Republican incumbents have “embraced a sink-or-swim approach to education.”

Wrote Kenck, in a guest opinion posted in Idaho Education News’ Voices section: “Honestly, most of us — Republican, Democrat and Independent — understand that our GOP leaders aren’t putting the interests of Idaho’s communities, families and children first. But as we watch those leaders abandon ship, we can’t help but notice that the captain of the Costa Concordia is facing stiff punishment for his dereliction of duty. We can’t prosecute our failed captains though. All we can do is vote them out. And, we will.”

OK, but who will the Democrats run against Otter, who says he is planning to seek a third term? Or Luna, who might seek a third term?

At this point, the would-be candidates are talking to potential campaign staffers and donors, Kenck said. They’re also talking to Democrats who have held these offices in the past — to get a sense of what it would take to wage a successful campaign, and some insight into the job that awaits a winning candidate.

Kenck is confident about where things stand, 17 months out from a general election and less than a year before the primaries. But he doesn’t want to put potential candidates on the spot.

That includes Barbara Morgan, a Boise State University educator in residence and former teacher in space. Before stepping down as state party chairman, Larry Grant floated Morgan’s prominent name, as a potential Democratic challenger to Luna.

Kenck, named party chairman in late February, said Grant hadn’t consulted with Morgan beforehand, catching her off guard. Kenck says he doesn’t want to pull a similar surprise on any other possible candidates.

So — even though Morgan’s name has been out in the political rumor mill for months — Kenck won’t say whether Morgan is on his list of possible superintendent’s candidates.


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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