Republican Lt. Gov. Brad Little has the experience and knowledge to be an effective governor. Paulette Jordan, his Democratic challenger, has run a campaign that shows she won’t lead the state effectively.
Jordan has done a lot of good. She’s energized the governor’s race, and she’s gotten many young people who normally stay away from politics into the process. She’s absolutely right on Proposition 2, which she has backed fully, while Little has only promised to implement it if it passes.
But there are many issues besides Prop 2 involved in the gubernatorial election.
Little’s service on the LINE Commission gives him a better level of understanding about complex policy questions involving Idaho National Laboratory and waste cleanup. Little has extensive experience dealing with economic development and international trade — a key asset at a time where Idaho’s export-heavy economy is exposed to disruptions in longstanding international trade agreements.
And Little has a demonstrated track record of careful, considered leadership and policymaking. He served eight years in the Idaho Senate, rising quickly to a leadership post. He’s served another nine years as lieutenant governor. He has a reputation as a policy wonk, less at home giving stump speeches than working through the details of a new bill.
Details are boring. But details can be vital.
Details were the difference between the Idaho Education Network becoming a means for students in rural Idaho to access better educational resources, which it could have been, or a roiling contracting scandal that ended in abject failure, which is what happened. Details caused two of Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s intended vetos, right or wrong, to be reversed.
Little gets the details right.
Jordan has captured lots of national and international media attention, but her campaign has often seemed out of touch with Idaho. Her campaign’s travel budget has been enormous, and much of the travel has been out of state. After Marc Johnson wrote a column pointing out a tangle of fishy spending in her campaign finance reports, her campaign manager brushed it off as an attack by an out-of-state Republican operative. Johnson was chief of staff to Gov. Cecil Andrus, the last Democrat to hold the governor’s seat and an icon of the party.
It’s hard to square Jordan’s avowed commitment to transparency with some of the actions undertaken by her campaign. Idaho candidates do not generally have their staff sign nondisclosure agreements, but Jordan did. Most campaigns don’t have key staff resignations at crucial moments, but that’s happened in the Jordan campaign more than once.
Taken together, these missteps paint a picture of a disorganized effort often struck by internal divisions that weren’t successfully resolved. They paint a picture, in short, of a campaign that has been poorly led.
There’s an old saying in politics, recently raised by another statewide Democratic candidate: “You govern the way you campaign.”
Apply that maxim to Jordan’s campaign, and you see a candidate who likely won’t govern the state effectively. We expect that Little will, and he has our unanimous endorsement.