Some heavy interest in ‘governor lite’

Idaho’s lieutenant governor doesn’t have a whole lot to do.

But apparently, there’s no shortage of people interested in doing the job.

Kimberlee Kruesi of the Associated Press reported Wednesday on two new Republican entries in the race: former Rep. Janice McGeachin of Idaho Falls, and Rep. Kelley Packer of McCammon.

Both have appointed campaign treasurers, a precursor to a statewide run. However, the formal candidate filing period doesn’t open until early next year.

State Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, has already announced his bid for lieutenant governor.

And earlier this week, Chuck Malloy of Idaho Politics Weekly said state GOP chairman Steve Yates is looking at the race — and Malloy speculated that Yates’ entry in the race would chase off would-be opponents.

Yates has not yet appointed a campaign treasurer.

The lieutenant governor’s race is open — and perhaps more attractive to candidates — because incumbent Brad Little is stepping aside to run for governor. The lieutenant governor’s job is frequently viewed as a stepping stone to higher office, which can explain the outsized interest in the post. In 2002, Idaho’s last open lieutenant’s race drew six GOP challengers and two Democrats.

Lieutenant governor is officially a part-time post, with responsibilities to match. The lieutenant governor does serve as acting governor when the actual governor is out of state. The lieutenant governor also presides over the state Senate and casts tie-breaking votes — an uncommon occurrence in a chamber with 35 members.