Idaho Gov. Little turns back Trump-backed challenger

May 16, 2022, 9:42 PM | Updated: May 17, 2022, 10:12 pm
Idaho Gov. Brad Little laughs as he takes an "I Voted" sticker from poll worker Carla Stark after c...

Idaho Gov. Brad Little laughs as he takes an "I Voted" sticker from poll worker Carla Stark after casting his ballot in Idaho's Primary Election in Emmett, Idaho, Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Kyle Green)

(AP Photo/Kyle Green)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Tuesday won the GOP gubernatorial primary, beating a Trump-backed challenger who had repeatedly criticized the incumbent for not being conservative enough.

The intraparty contest between Little and Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin was an example of the choice GOP voters face nationwide between established candidates and insurgents endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Little and McGeachin frequently feuded over coronavirus precautions and the role of government. Last year McGeachin twice attempted a power grab when Little was out of state on business.

“I felt the honor of serving the great state of Idaho in good times and in tough times,” Little said at a Republican gathering in downtown Boise after winning the primary. “Once again I’m humbled by the awesome opportunity to serve and work for the great people of Idaho.”

McGeachin was at a private gathering in Boise where reporters weren’t allowed. Her campaign didn’t immediately respond for a request for comment.

Little didn’t gloat in his speech, with much of it sounding like a standard stump speech recounting the state’s red-hot economy and large income tax cuts the last two years as well as taking shots at Democrats.

“The leftist states are dysfunctional places with broken policies that limit opportunity,” Little said. “We would like to build a wall around Idaho and make California pay for it.”

Idaho is among the nation’s fastest-growing states, with some of those new residents coming from California.

Republicans are almost guaranteed of winning in the general election as Democrats haven’t held the governor’s office since 1995 or statewide office since 2007. Republicans hold supermajorities in the House and Senate, and Democrats aren’t even contesting more than half of the Legislature’s 105 seats.

Various groups encouraged independents and Democrats to register as Republicans to halt a slate of far-right candidates, including McGeachin. The number of voters doing that appeared to be too small to make a significant difference, but Alicia Nelson took that path and voted for Little over McGeachin, as well as other mainstream Republicans.

“In Idaho you have a lot of crazy people, so you kind of have to weed them out to get to somewhat logical thinking,” she said.

Bill Brown stuck with the Democratic primary as he has done for decades, but acknowledged the dominance of the Republican party in Idaho.

“It has turned so far right it’s kind of scary,” he said.

Little was attending a Republican Governors Association meeting in Tennessee last May when McGeachin issued an executive order banning mask mandates. Little quickly rescinded the order and decried her actions as an “irresponsible, self-serving political stunt.” He had never issued statewide COVID-19 mask mandates, instead saying that local officials should be able to do what they see fit.

She tried it again a few months later when Little was away, issuing an executive order that expanded on a directive that no Idaho government could require vaccine passports. She sought to add K-12 schools and universities to the ban.

McGeachin accused Little, the first-term governor, of rejecting conservative principles, writing on Twitter that “protecting individual liberty means fighting against tyranny at ALL levels of government.”

Little, a rancher from southwest Idaho, served as lieutenant governor from 2009 to 2019 before becoming governor. He touts the record $600 million income tax cut he signed earlier this year that includes a one-time $350 million in rebates and $250 million in permanent income tax reductions going forward for people and businesses.

The 68-year-old Little also highlighted his “Leading Idaho” plan that includes a record $300 million education spending increase, plus spending $200 million ongoing for roads and bridges, the largest ever increase for transportation.

The 59-year-old McGeachin had, and frequently touted, an endorsement by Trump, who won Idaho with 64% of the vote in the last general election. McGeachin has also promoted Trump’s lies that the 2020 election was stolen from him through mass voter fraud.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Police officer in Louisiana run over, dragged by driver

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — A police officer in Louisiana is in critical condition after police say a suspect ran over him with a vehicle and dragged him during an attempted traffic stop. Police in Lafayette, Louisiana say the officer was dragged 100 feet (30 meters) early Sunday morning. Lafayette is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) […]
11 hours ago
FILE - Passengers walk to the departures terminal of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, A...
Associated Press

A year on, ex-Afghan leader defends role in Taliban takeover

ISLAMABAD (AP) — On the eve of the anniversary of the Taliban takeover of Kabul, Afghanistan’s former president on Sunday defended what he said was a split-second decision to flee, saying he wanted to avoid the humiliation of surrender to the insurgents. Ashraf Ghani also told CNN that on the morning of Aug. 15, 2021, […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

Average US gasoline price falls 45 cents to $4.10 per gallon

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline plummeted 45 cents over the past three weeks to $4.10 per gallon. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that the continued decline comes as crude oil costs also remain low. “The drop of a dollar per gallon has not been […]
11 hours ago
FILE - Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump try to break through a police barrier, Wedn...
Associated Press

Some Capitol rioters try to profit from their Jan. 6 crimes

Facing prison time and dire personal consequences for storming the U.S. Capitol, some Jan. 6 defendants are trying to profit from their participation in the deadly riot, using it as a platform to drum up cash, promote business endeavors and boost social media profiles. A Nevada man jailed on riot charges asked his mother to […]
11 hours ago
FILE - Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz listens to testimony while seated ...
Associated Press

School shooter’s brain exams to be subject of court hearing

A defense mental health expert in the penalty trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz can pinpoint when he realized the 23-year-old mass murderer still has "irrational thoughts" -- the two were making small talk when Cruz began describing plans for an eventual life outside prison.
11 hours ago
This image released by Sony Pictures shows Bryan Tyree Henry, left, and Brad Pitt in a scene from "...
Associated Press

‘Bullet Train’ repeats No. 1; ‘Top Gun’ flies back up ranks

NEW YORK (AP) — The Brad Pitt action film “Bullet Train” led all movies in ticket sales for a second straight weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday, while a quiet spell in theaters and incredible staying power allowed “Top Gun: Maverick” to rocket back into third place in its 12th week of release. After launching […]
11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Idaho Gov. Little turns back Trump-backed challenger