The candidates vying to be Idaho’s next lieutenant governor met for a televised debate Wednesday night. The race for the office is a historic one – in a first, both people running for the seat are women.
Kristin Collum is the Democrat in the race. She’s an Army veteran and comes to her first bid for public office from the tech sector. Janice McGeachin is the Republican candidate. A former state lawmaker for a decade, she and her family run an Irish pub in Idaho Falls.
Over the course of the hour-long debate, Collum painted herself as a moderate, willing to compromise and make deals to get things done. McGeachin touted her staunch pro-life position and said the state is facing a choice between continuing to hold to its conservative values or, as she put it, “traveling down a progressive path.”
McGeachin said she opposes Proposition 2, the initiative to broaden Medicaid coverage in the state, calling it an expansion of Obamacare. Collum, who has actively campaigned to get Prop 2 passed, called out the six years of inaction by the state to address residents who can’t afford medical coverage.
While both women sketched out their policy positions for voters, Boise State political science professor Jaclyn Kettler says other forces are at work behind the scenes.
“Often something that’s paid attention to is: Who can work well with the governor?” says Kettler. “Who will actually be allowed to have a role in decision-making? Additionally, who might this be a good position to kind of train and then move on up?”
Voters are already casting ballots for Idaho’s first female lieutenant governor.
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