Is Tom Luna betting on Jana Jones?

(UPDATED, 3:00 p.m., to reflect the fact that Luna and Ybarra met last week.)

Tom Luna has several interesting things to say about the race to succeed him as state schools superintendent.

And here they are, as reported by Times-News opinion editor Jon Alexander in a column today.

1. Luna thinks Democrat Jana Jones will win. Luna told the Times-News editorial board that Jones will “most likely” be Idaho’s next state superintendent. After suggesting the race is Jones’ to lose, the Republican Luna paused and turned circumspect. “That’s all I’m going to say.”

2. Luna said he hasn’t yet met Ybarra — or at least hadn’t as of Wednesday, when he sat down with the editorial board. But Luna and Ybarra did indeed meet Friday, Luna spokesman Brady Moore said Tuesday. That meeting came 115 days after Ybarra surprised most pundits by winning a four-way GOP primary, and 53 days before the general election.

3. Luna may not even endorse in the general election“I would have expected to by now, but I might just stay out of it at this point,” Luna told the Times-News.

They’re fascinating remarks, because they all seem to dovetail into the conventional wisdom surrounding the superintendent’s race.

There’s been no shortage of speculation that Jones has a strong shot at winning — and giving Idaho Democrats their first statewide election win since 2002, when incumbent Marilyn Howard defeated Luna in the superintendent’s race. And there’s been some whispering that Ybarra hasn’t done enough to campaign or reach out to possible supporters, after winning the GOP nomination with a grass-roots effort and about $3,000 in campaign contributions.

But this much is clear. Even though Luna isn’t in the state superintendent’s race, he can still make a headline in the state superintendent’s race.