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.

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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.

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