Governor’s race rumor mill: AJ Balukoff?

Boise School Board President AJ Balukoff says he’s considering a run for governor in 2014 — but won’t make a decision until later this year.

AJ Balukoff
AJ Balukoff

Balukoff’s name was first floated publicly (but also misspelled) by Chris Carlson, a former aide to former Gov. Cecil Andrus. In a column Tuesday on Randy Stapilus’ Ridenbaugh Press Northwest political blog, Carlson labeled Balukoff a long shot.

“Rumor has it that Boise school board member and current chair A.J. Bulakoff (sic) will be the Democratic candidate for governor. He may be a quality person, a genuine philanthropist and one dedicated to the importance of education, but he doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance because he is starting way too late.”

In an email Thursday night, Balukoff didn’t sound like he going to rush into a decision.

“I have been flattered that some folks have been suggesting that I run for governor, and because education is so important to me I am taking those suggestions seriously, but it is premature talk about my actually running for the office.

“I will continue to talk with people I trust and respect as I consider whether to run for governor. I will decide whether I can devote the time and energy to a statewide campaign, and if I can mount a financially viable campaign. I will make a decision by the end of the year.”

Balukoff is the senior member of the Boise School Board, serving since 1997.

If he runs — and if Republican incumbent Butch Otter follows through on his stated plans to seek a third term — expect a sharp difference of opinion on education issues. Otter was a strong supporter of state superintendent Tom Luna’s Students Come First laws. The Boise School Board opposed the laws, overturned by voters in 2012.

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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