A few thoughts on a few, somewhat random, topics...

Ultraconservative website backs Fulcher, blasts Ahlquist, Little and Labrador. Gem State Patriot News, an Idaho online website known for its heavy John Birch Society content and quirky and sometimes kooky slant (a current article outlines the threat to freedom from wandering wildlife and another calls for eliminating the Federal Reserve), is laying its cards on the table in the 2018 governor’s race: Russ Fulcher is their man and the other three candidates are . . . spawns of Satan.

The site’s love of Fulcher is deep. He is responsible for the sales tax off food (though he is no longer in the Legislature) and the only true taxpayer advocate. There is article after article (plus videos) that quote or feature Fulcher.

In contrast, Tommy Ahlquist is pulling “out his rather large wallet and all the stops in his bid to run the state”, is a confidant of BSU’s President Bob Kustra (who is the creep who eliminated wrestling) and “is a man seeking a new career after being an ER Doctor and Urban Renewal Developer… Question is, does Tom even know what he wants to be when he grows up?”

They are also no fans of Brad Little accusing him of “try[ing] to play Governor”, referencing his recent executive order for a review of occupational licenses. Worse, “he now desires to be the conductor of this corrupt crony government symphony.” Finally, “Brad is a nice guy but feel he would be more of an asset to the state if he returned to running the family business and got out of government altogether.”

Interestingly enough, they direct particular venom at Raul Labrador: “Labrador is an opportunist with no business experience to run a state. In fact, if we checked his resume we would find that his past business experience is running a 12 person law office. The other question is, how does someone represent the people of Idaho in Congress and campaign for governor at the same time without shortchanging the people who elected him?”

I’m intrigued that purported conservatives are trying to rip apart Labrador who is known for his role in the Freedom Caucus.

John Eaton to IACI. Betsy Russell of The Spokesman-Review reports that the government affairs director for the Idaho Association of REALTORS, John Eaton, is moving over to assume a presumably similar role with the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry. The move was triggered by Zach Hauge who is leaving IACI to run Lt. Gov. Brad Little’s gubernatorial campaign.

Eaton’s departure is a big loss for the Idaho Association of REALTORS.  He wore a couple of hats. Each year he lobbied the Idaho Legislature and was the chief point of contact for them with state and local governments.  He also ran the Idaho REALTORS Political Action Committee which in 2016 spent in excess of $400,000 on Idaho political races.

Might his move be a sign that IACI will up its political activity further in the future?

Labrador embraces INL in his run for Idaho governor. Last Thursday, Rep. Raul Labrador appeared at Melaleuca’s HQ in Idaho Falls to announce his candidacy for governor. During his remarks he specified he was “excited about the future of the INL”, citing his relationship with Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

This is interesting in that in 2012 Labrador supported an amendment that would have cut over a half billion dollars from the Idaho National Laboratory’s budget, triggering significant job losses in eastern Idaho. Many local residents remember that vote, particularly INL contractors and employees.

Can he overcome that hostility in his run for governor? 

Who will replace Steve Yates as Idaho GOP chair? Word on the street is that former GOP executive director and current Holland & Hart government affairs director Jonathan Parker is edging towards a race for Idaho Republican chair.  He has solid ties to some of the more conservative factions of the party and has the respect of many more moderate members.  Will anyone else make a run?

Steve Taggart is an Idaho Falls attorney specializing in bankruptcy (www.MaynesTaggart.com).  He has an extensive background in politics and public policy.  He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..