Fulcher plans statewide tour Saturday

Fresh from traveling the state on a “listening tour,” state Sen. Russ Fulcher will travel the state Saturday to announce whether he will run for governor.

RussellFulcher82
Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian

The Meridian Republican senator will announce his plans at three stops: a 10 a.m. MST appearance at the Courtyard by Marriot, 1789 S. Eagle Road, Meridian; a 11:45 a.m. PST appearance at Resort Aviation, 11101 Airport Drive, Coeur d’Alene; and a 3 p.m. MST stop at Aeromark Aviation, 2000 International Way, Idaho Falls.

Casting himself in the role of spoiler, Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey opined that the statewide tour can only mean one thing: Fulcher has decided to challenge Gov. Butch Otter in the May primary. “Fulcher, who isn’t made of money, surely wouldn’t be flying around the state to say he’s decided not to run. Despite Otter’s likely financial advantage and incumbency, Fulcher’s in.”

Fulcher would likely make the state health exchange — and Otter’s support of the plan — the centerpiece of a primary challenge. But Fulcher has been making some noise about the Common Core academic standards — which Otter supports, and which passed the Senate Education Committee in 2011 without opposition from Fulcher.

As we reported recently, Fulcher’s votes on key education issues do not differ greatly from Otter’s education record.