Some prominent endorsements on Monday — 22 days before the Republican primary.
Otters endorse Critchfield. Former Gov. Butch Otter and former first lady Lori Otter threw their support behind state superintendent’s candidate Debbie Critchfield.
“Debbie has the conservative values that put Idaho kids and families first,” Butch Otter said in a news release. “She will uphold our constitutional obligations for education in Idaho.”
“With 20 years of state and local education experience, Debbie Critchfield is prepared to listen and act on behalf of our students,” Lori Otter said. “As a former classroom teacher and administrator, I recognize the qualities Debbie brings to the table to lead Idaho K-12 education on day one.”
The Otter-Critchfield connection goes back to at least 2014, when the governor named Critchfield to the State Board of Education. Three years later, Otter named Critchfield to his 36-member higher education task force (along with current state superintendent Sherri Ybarra, among others).
Critchfield, Ybarra and former legislator Branden Durst are vying for the GOP nomination for state superintendent.
Little endorses Bedke. Gov. Brad Little has his own re-election to deal with. But on Monday, he endorsed House Speaker Scott Bedke for lieutenant governor.
“Scott Bedke worked with me to cut red tape and make Idaho the least regulated state in the nation, provide Idahoans historic tax relief, and fully fund law enforcement and first responders,” Little said Monday. “As lieutenant governor, Scott Bedke will be a trusted partner and help us continue to make Idaho the place where we all can have the opportunity to thrive.”
This endorsement hardly registers as a surprise. Little and Bedke have made no real secret of their support for each other in their respective GOP primaries.
Little and Bedke are, at most, a de facto ticket.
Idaho elects its governor and lieutenant governor separately. That means the two top executives sometimes come from opposing parties. Or opposing ideologies — as is the case now, as Little and Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin are squaring off in a contentious primary for governor. (For more details on this unusual matchup, here’s a weekend story from Betsy Russell of the Idaho Press.)
Bedke, state Rep. Priscilla Giddings of White Bird and Daniel Gasiorowski of Placerville are running in the Republican race for lieutenant governor.