BOISE — The primary is almost a year away, but the Republican candidates for governor have been keeping busy.

Raul Labrador, the First District congressman who is running for governor, announced the tour kicking off his run will be next week.

Brad Little, the current lieutenant governor who is also running for the top job, released his list of county campaign coordinators Wednesday, including two former Mini-Cassia lawmakers and Christina Dobbs and Wiley Dobbs, the Twin Falls school superintendent who is retiring in a few months.

And Boise developer Tommy Ahlquist, who has advertised more heavily than the other candidates, came out with his latest commercial.

The three, and former state Sen. Russ Fulcher, who is planning to kick off his summer tour of the state with a Memorial Day barbecue in Meridian, are all running in the May 2018 primary. Incumbent C.L. “Butch” Otter has said he isn’t running for another term and has endorsed Little.

Lisa Marie of Boise, who has run unsuccessfully for Congress the past two cycles, has also filed to run for governor as a Republican, and Michael Richardson of Boise and John Thomas Wiechec of Middleton have filed as independents. The only Democrat to file so far is Troy Minton, a homeless Boise man, although more Democrats are expected to run.

“I learned it from Grandpa Pettersson back on the farm to be a doer, not a talker, and to get things done,” Ahlquist says in his latest ad, which is called “Work” and is running on TV and online media statewide. “These are the lessons I’ve lived by. Serving tens of thousands of patients as an emergency room doctor all over Idaho. Starting several successful small businesses. And now building community creating thousands of jobs.”

Little’s Magic Valley campaign coordinators are Julie Lynn in Blaine County; Mari and Gary McStay and Laura Shroyer in Camas County; Wayne Hurst and former state Sen. Denton Darrington, in Cassia County; John Wright and Mike Elliot in Gooding County; Laurie Lickley in Jerome County; Michael Piper in Lincoln County; Elaine and former state Rep. Bert Stevenson in Minidoka County; and the Dobbses in Twin Falls County.

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“A statewide campaign is a team effort and I will have the strongest team,” Little said in a statement. “Our county coordinators are ensuring that our message of faith, family and limited government is being heard in every corner of the state.”

As for Labrador, he is planning three events to kick off his campaign — at a residence in Boise on Tuesday, at the American Legion hall in Post Falls on Wednesday and at Melaleuca, which is owned by major Republican donor Frank VanderSloot, in Idaho Falls on Thursday.

“Idaho needs a proven conservative leader who will stand against the special interests and politicians that have picked the winners and losers in our state Capitol for too long,” Labrador wrote in an email to his supporters. “Idaho needs a strong leader who will make government fair for everyone.”

VanderSloot hasn’t endorsed anyone for governor yet, said spokesman Rusty Cannon.

“Melaleuca’s event center at its global headquarters is by far the best event center in Bonneville County,” he said. “We rent the facility to groups that need it. Community events at Melaleuca should not be interpreted to be an endorsement by Melaleuca or any of its officers, including Mr. VanderSloot.”


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