Idaho gubernatorial primary grows crowded with 11 candidates

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Eleven candidates have now filed paperwork with the state indicating they will run for Idaho governor in 2022, creating a crowded Republican primary.

The Idaho Press reports the Republican incumbent, Gov. Brad Little, hasn’t yet announced his reelection plans but is expected to run and has been fundraising.

Seven other Republicans, one Democrat and two unaffiliated candidates have filed to run far, some just quietly turning in the paperwork and others actively campaigning.

Besides current GOP Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin and anti-government activist Ammon Bundy — who is running as a Republican but has been disavowed by state GOP Chairman Tom Luna — Idaho GOP official Ed Humphreys and Democrat Melissa Sue Robinson are in the race.

Humphreys, 31, quit his job as a financial planner to run for governor, and has taken aim at the State Board of Education over its new policy defining diversity, inclusion and educational equity. Melissa Sue Robinson, 70, is a transgender woman who owned a construction company before shifting to a career in telecommunications. She’s taken a stand against the anti-transgender bills endorsed by the state Legislature, and has made education the centerpiece of her platform. She has frequently run for various offices in Idaho but hasn’t yet been elected.

Others who have filed paperwork to run as a Republican for governor include perennial candidate Lisa Marie of Boise, Chris Hammond of Lewiston, Jeff Cotton of Boise and Cody Usabel of Meridian. John Dionne of Boise and Robert Dempsey of Paul have filed paperwork to run as unaffiliated candidates.

Campaign finance reports for the pre-election year aren’t due until January, but donations of $1,000 or more must be reported within 48 hours. As of Friday mid-afternoon, Little had reported $29,500 worth of those since February. McGeachin had reported $23,000 of those since May 21. And Bundy had reported $1,000 from a single donation.

Crowded GOP primaries in Idaho have a history of unpredictable results. Then-House Speaker Allen Larsen won a six-way GOP primary for governor in 1978 only to lose to Democratic Gov. John Evans. Bill Sali won a six-way primary for Idaho’s 1st Congressional District seat in 2006 with just 26% of the vote, only to lose to a Democrat two years later.