BOISE, Idaho — Idaho’s Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin announced her run for Governor Wednesday morning.
A news release from her office says she will be seeking the Republican nomination in the Republican Primary in 2022.
As part of her campaign announcement, McGeachin held three different press conferences across the state, including one on the Statehouse steps. She made the initial announcement Wednesday morning in her hometown of Idaho Falls.
"I am not running for Governor to be popular or because it is easy. This job is hard work and it requires making difficult decisions that aren't always appreciated. I am a proud Idahoan, a devout Christian, a proven and committed conservative, a devoted wife and mother, and — with your support — I will be the first woman to lead Idaho as Governor. Seeking this position is a solemn duty, and it is not a decision I made lightly. I have made my decision prayerfully and with wise counsel from friends, family, and trusted advisors."
The announcement is a direct challenge to sitting Republican governor, Brad Little.
Idaho elects its Governors and Lieutenant Governors separately, they don’t run on a shared ticket. The two have publicly clashed over the past year on issues, including the state’s COVID-19 response.
McGeachin formed a task force last month that will examine claims that Gem State kids are being taught anti-American beliefs. The Idaho Education Association hasn't endorsed any candidates yet, but President Layne McInelly released the following statement in response to McGeachin's announcement:
The announcement today by Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin that she will be running for governor should be met with great distrust by all who support Idaho public schools, students, and professional educators. She does not and will not prioritize policies that benefit public education. In fact, there is no ambiguity in her track record—she consistently attempts to undermine education funding and degrade our dedicated educators. Public education is the pathway to success and opportunity for children across our great state. McGeachin as governor would represent a huge step backward for Idaho students and public schools.
In the United States, there have been only two Lieutenant Governors challenging the incumbent Governor in the past ten years. Idaho News 6 spoke with Boise State University political science professor Jacklyn Kettler about why.
She says it's about two main issues: critical race theory and more importantly, the handling of the pandemic.
"Hopefully, we come out of it a little bit more and maybe these issues become less salient, but I think there's still a lot of people upset and concerned with the past year so I'm thinking there is still an audience and a group of voters receptive to that message."
The primary election in May 2022 is just the nomination process to determine which candidates go forward to the general election. But Idaho is unique in which each political party gets to choose who, in terms of voters, can participate. In Idaho, the Republican primary is closed, meaning only registered Republicans can vote in the primary.
If you want your voice to be heard as an Independent or registered Democrat, you would need to change your party affiliation. Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane says no one can actually file for State offices until next spring.
“Right now what candidates are doing is announcing their intentions that they plan to run for those offices and very importantly they have to file their campaign finance paperwork. So prior to actually announcing publicly that you're going to run or receiving any money or spending any money to run for office, it's really important candidates file their campaign finance paperwork so that there's transparency," said McGrane.
McGeachin is one of seven candidates who has filed that preliminary campaign paperwork for an active campaign. Five other Republicans have also filed paperwork and one candidate is listed as unaffiliated.