Sen. Fulcher Officially Launches Campaign For Idaho Governor
“My name is Russ Fulcher and I’m running for governor.”
Those words from Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, Saturday morning kicked off what promises to be a fierce battle for Idaho’s top executive position over the next five months.
The five-term senator will challenge fellow Republican and two-term incumbent Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter in the May primary. Dozens of supporters attended the event held in a Meridian hotel conference room.
Fulcher criticized Otter for his role in fostering the creation of a state-run health insurance exchange.
“Idaho has become increasingly subsidiary to the federal government,” Fulcher said. “And the most blatant evidence of that is what transpired earlier this year with our healthcare exchange vote in our Legislature. It was our governor that led the charge to put the Affordable Care Act voluntarily in the state of Idaho.”
Fulcher told the audience that Idaho’s next governor will need to unite a divided party. He promised to do that by focusing on healthcare reform, helping the state gain better access to its natural resources and resist federal intervention in Idaho schools.
“Over time we have forfeited a lot of our liberties in our decision making to the federal government,” Fulcher said. “In the process, our political party has been fractured. It’s wrong. It’s not sustainable and we’ve got to change that.”
Some in attendance were past supporters of the governor. Valerie James of Meridian has voted and campaigned for Otter, but says she was “appalled” with his decision to create a state health insurance exchange.
“I appreciated Gov. Otter for years,” James said. “But I believe he’s lost his way. I don’t know if he’s been in [office] too long, if he has really terrible advisors or gotten too old. I have no idea. But I am done with Otter.”
Fulcher acknowledged he’ll likely raise less money than his incumbent opponent, but promised to make up for it with a strong grassroots effort. Fulcher left the Meridian event to fly to press conferences in Hayden Lake and Idaho Falls.
Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio