Idaho voters deserve at least two good options in the governor’s race, but we aren’t sure they have them.
Former Rep. Paulette Jordan, the Democratic nominee, is a charismatic campaigner. She’s drawn extensive national media attention. A number of the policies she’s campaigned on offer compelling alternatives to those backed by Lt. Gov. Brad Little, her opponent. And her decision to forgo corporate donations, relying instead primarily on small-dollar donations from constituents, is quite admirable.
But last week, less than two months before election day, three of her top campaign staff quit. If you have déjà vu, that’s because her field director resigned right before the May primary.
Jordan hasn’t answered reporters’ questions about what happened, and she’s blocked her departing staff from answering them too. Instead, she issued a cheery release noting that she had hired four new staff members.
“We are excited about our new hires, and confident in the current leadership team,” Jordan said. “They understand Idaho’s issues and share my commitment to best serving each and every Idahoan.”
This statement doesn’t answer the key questions raised last week. It dodges them.
Questions like: How can voters believe Jordan will effectively lead the expansive state bureaucracy when she hasn’t successfully led a small campaign staff? Why did some of Jordan’s top staff abruptly resign last week? Why did a member of her previous staff resign just before the primary? What left Jordan’s campaign scheduler “so embarrassed and ashamed,” as the Idaho Statesman reported she wrote in her terse resignation letter?
Voters deserve answers to these questions, but Jordan made sure they can’t have them. She got her staff to sign nondisclosure agreements. What impelled them to sign those agreements? Voters don’t know that either.
The lack of openness is concerning enough on its own, but Jordan has publicly stated that “the whole point of this campaign is to keep it as transparent and open as possible.”
You can’t wave a transparency flag with one hand and muzzle your departing staff with the other.
Keeping secrets is bad enough. Dishonesty is worse.
At present, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that when Jordan tells you she’s committed to transparency, you can’t believe her. If Jordan wants voters’ trust, she should give frank answers to all these questions at the scheduled Idaho Falls City Club forum Thursday.
Drop the campaign rhetoric, and tell us what happened.