Idaho Governor Brad Little will square off in a Republican primary Tuesday against his own lieutenant governor, who has challenged his vision of conservatism and regularly sought to enact policies he disagrees with.
Idaho’s state constitution allows for the lieutenant governor to enact executive orders and other policies while the governor is out of state. Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin has regularly used that loophole, only for Little to return and undo her orders practically as soon as he steps foot back in the Gem State.
“The proof is in the pudding,” Little recently said about his conservative credentials. Cutting red tape, tax relief, “those are not what you would associate with somebody that is not a Republican,“ he said, according to The Idaho Statesman.
McGeachin’s bravado has earned the endorsement of President Donald Trump, but Idaho establishment Republicans fear that her political agenda and character may turn away potential business opportunities for the state. To that extent, McGeachin sounded confident that her team would win on Tuesday.
“Our internal polling shows this is a close race and we are very optimistic about tomorrow’s outcome,” McGeachin said in a statement to The Daily Wire.
“My campaign for governor, which is endorsed by President Trump, is focused on protecting individual liberty, defending our state sovereignty, and upholding traditional conservative values,” she added. “Idahoans deserve a government that respects their liberty and the values they hold dear.”
According to the Idaho Statesman, the Republican governor’s approach to the pandemic entailed “local control” over COVID-19 rules, and many of them went unenforced.
“When McGeachin issued an executive order banning mask mandates while Little was traveling, he said it was ‘contrary to a basic conservative principle — the government closest to the people governs best,’ the paper added.
McGeachin also attracted controversy for delivering a pre-taped address at the 2022 America First Political Action Conference, which was hosted by the alt-right figure Nick Fuentes.
“Keep up the good work fighting for our country,” she said in her address.
“I need fighters all over this country that are willing stand up and fight,” McGeachin added. “Even when that means fighting amongst our own ranks because there are too many Republicans who do not exhibit the courage that is needed today for us to fight and protect our freedoms and our liberties. We are literally in the fight for our lives.”
McGeachin later defended herself by claiming she did not know who put on the conference. “I don’t. I don’t know who he is. I don’t,” she said when asked about the conference’s organizer.
Brent Hill, former Senate president pro team, and a supporter for Little, told the Statesman that “It’s easy to take extremist positions, it’s easy to throw grenades,” in support of the governor’s track record.
“It’s more difficult when you have the responsibility to govern, and people’s lives and livelihoods depend on your decisions,” he added in defense of Little. “You’ve got to take everything into account and not just ideology.”
In addition to Little and McGeachin, Ed Humphreys, Ashley Jackson, Lisa Marie, Steven Bradshaw, Ben Cannady, and Cody Usabel are also running in the GOP primary.