Will GOP Gov. Butch Otter Serve His Full Third Term?

Crossposted on Daily Kos


Brad Little: Sneaking in?

Is somebody trying to tell us something? We just reelected Gov. Otter for four more years earlier this month. Why are we suddenly being reassured that it'll be just fine if he steps down? - Sharon Fisher

Why thank you, Sharon.

Just three weeks after the eloection, we receive this report in Idaho news media:

Idaho Lt. Gov. Little prepared to take on role of governor

Uh.

OK.

Why aren't we being reassured, at this time, that one of the Boise State University assistant football coaches is ready to take over for head coach Bryan Harsin, just in case he can't coach?

Or ... isn't that supposed to be obvious?

The report, by Betsy Russel of the Spokesman Review, goes on to, somewhat arbitrarily, pound what should be obvious and already understood ...

BOISE – If newly re-elected 72-year-old Idaho Gov. Butch Otter didn’t complete his full third term, Idaho’s new governor would be Brad Little, the second-term lieutenant governor, rancher and former state senator who’s been toiling full-time in the part-time, low-paid post since Otter appointed him to it in 2009.

... That call already has come on a short-term basis: Little has served as acting governor on 247 days since he took office on Jan. 6, 2009, with the days per year sharply increasing over his time in office. In addition to serving as acting governor when the governor is out of state or incapacitated, Idaho’s lieutenant governor presides over the state Senate, where he breaks ties, and takes on other duties as assigned by the governor.

Certainly, there is as much, if not more interest in the Broncos high paid state officials, as there is in Butch.

So what Fisher pointed out is something that had popped in my mind when reading this, too.

In journalism terms, there is a classic -- Grand Canyon-sized -- "hole in the story."

There are lots of newly elected and appointed, very important officials around Idaho and the nation at this time.

The stable and well established Little, replacing the Otter in his equally comfortable position, seems to be one of the least worrisome scenarios.

Why this official?

Why now?

Talk of Butch stepping aside to allow Brad his turn at Governor has been around since the affable cowboy first became Idaho's chief executive.

In politics, timing is critical. Congressman Raul Labrador is in a great position to run from the right against Otter's Main Street establishment Republicans next time around.

Wouldn't it be great to give Little a year or two as a sitting Governor for organizing, name-recognition, and the many benefits of running as an incumbent?

Is somebody trying to tell us something?

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Buth's survival

At 72, Butch could get busted up badly in any of the equine events he loves so much. A guy that age doesn't heal as well or quickly as one half his age or more.

It must be obvious now Butch isn't going to give up the Governor's job until they haul him out feet first, if he has anything to say about it. Now that he has #3, he will go for #4, unless he becomes physically unfit and bows to the inevitable.

He was well rewarded by his patience, too. Butch waited in the wings for a very long time.

Little may have other ambitions. If Labrador, like Butch, really wants to be Governor much more than Representative, a job swap may be what Brad's waiting for. If Brad wants to be Governor, there is nothing stopping Butch from handing over the job after a new hip replacement makes things too painful. But if that's really what Little wants, he may be wanting it for a long time to come.