Idaho voters who selected a new governor for the first time since 2006 faced the choice between a female democrat with promising powerful changes and a male republican who largely promised Gov. Butch Otter to continue.
Conservative Idaho once again elected the Republican as his governor on Tuesday night. Lt. Gov. Brad Little beat Paulette Jordan with what has become an expected margin in state governmental races: Jordan, with all districts counted, had 38.2 percent of the vote on the 59.8 percent of Little.
"Twenty-four years ago, Phil Batt broke a 24-year-old democratic cycle that controlled the governor's office," said Little during his victory speech Tuesday night for a crowded hall of cheering supporters at the Riverside Hotel in Garden City. "This is the 24th anniversary of that, and Idaho is still a very red state."
Little foreshadowed the focus of his tenure and called himself "a constitutional conservative who strongly believes in the 10th Amendment", which restricts federal power.
"I am looking forward to working with President Trump while continuing to allow Idahoans to be in charge of their own destiny," he said. "Idaho has been reasonably successful, but we have more work to do to take back the authority that the federal government has taken over the years, whether it is education, transportation, healthcare, public land management and all areas of regulations. "
While campaigning for the past 20 months, Little's strongest ally seemed to be his years invested in politics and relations in Idaho. Little has spent 17 years so far in the Statehouse, as state senator from 2001 to 2008 and lieutenant governor since 2009.
The race amounted to a number game in some ways.
Idaho last elected a Democratic Governor (Cecil Andrus) in 1990. In the most recent gubernatorial election, the Republican Otter defeated his Democratic challenger, A.J. Balukoff, with 15 points.
This year, 51 percent of voters in Idaho were registered as Republicans, as of November 1 in the report of the Idaho Secretary of State. Twelve percent were Democrats and 36 percent were independent or registered with third parties.
In order to get the votes to become the new governor of Idaho, Jordan needed the full support of democrats and independents and a large number of republicans.
Little, 64, is a third generation Emmett sheep farmer. A loyal ally of the Otter, who is often considered heir, which is clear for the legacy of the departing governor. Little campaigned to continue promoting Idaho's economy, improving education and advancing agricultural interests.
A self-styled tactic sparked with a more moderate touch, Little Otter seldom fell into the shadows and worked quietly and patiently behind the scenes, waiting for his chance to find the seat of the governor.
On Tuesday evening, he spoke about what this year was different on the campaign path: "The economy, people are not worried about losing their jobs, they are worried about education, they are worried about health care. high quality living, they are worried about open space. & # 39;
Jordan, 38, wanted to become the first female governor of Idaho, the first Indian governor and one of the youngest governors. She would also have been the first female Indian governor of the country.
"We look forward to it so much, we worked so hard," she said earlier Tuesday night. "It has built up to this moment of excitement with people everywhere in our state who have been part of this campaign." They have part of this campaign to take with us. "We did everything we could and see it ourselves, we are proud to say that we have honored our ancestors. "
When Jordan asked her what she was saying, "We are here to defend the people, I will always defend the people … In whatever way the people would want me to be helpful, I will always be for the people in Idaho. "
After her surprising disapproval of Balukoff in May's Democratic Pride, Jordan became a national media love, with many news channels traveling to Idaho to profile her historic run.
Idaho supporters saw a new start in Jordan: an opportunity to throw overboard dozens of years of republican control and influence and a democratic party that had no contact with the population. Her supporters spread beyond the borders of Idaho, with nearly half of her campaign contributions coming from outside the state.
Jordan was neither drafted nor approved by the democratic political class. That was good with her, while campaigning to avoid political labels.
Tuesday she described what she appreciated the most during her campaign: "Hearing the stories of the most vulnerable of our people." In the houses of people can go to see how they live and visit our shrines and shelters. get to know. "
Cynthia Sewell is the political investigative journalist of Idaho Statesman. Contact her at (208) 377-6428, firstname.lastname@example.org or @CynthiaSewell on Twitter.