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Category: politics

About a year away from the conclusion of Idaho’s governor’s race, among the now-likely candidates “don’t know” is way ahead, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll shows.

GOP Gov. Butch Otter is not seeking another term, and the seat will be open in 2018.

IPW pollster Dan Jones & Associates in a new survey for the online political newsweekly finds among all voters:

 -- Boise businessman Tommy Ahlquist has 14 percent support.

 -- 1st U.S. House District Rep. Raul Labrador has 17 percent support.

 -- Lt. Gov. Brad Little has 21 percent support.

 -- Child advocate Lisa Marie comes in at 4 percent support.

 -- Attorney General Lawrence Wasden also has 4 percent support. (Wasden announced last month that he’s not running for governor, but will seek a 5th term as AG.)

 -- Under the designation of “other” candidate, comes 5 percent.

 -- While “don’t know” wins at 36 percent support.

Clearly, this is an open race at this point, with no Democrat yet announcing a candidacy.

This is Ahlquist’s first run for public office. He is a physician/developer who has constructed more than 2 million commercial feet of buildings in recent years.

Labrador won his 1st District seat in 2010. He’s a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus in the GOP-controlled House. He’s a former member of the Idaho Legislature.

Little is a third generation rancher/sheep farmer who served in the state Senate before being appointed lieutenant governor in 2009. He’s won several re-elections since.

Marie lost a 2016 GOP primary race for the U.S. House. Her Facebook page is here.

Here are some interesting demographic finds by pollster Jones:

  -- Republicans overall give Little the most support, 24 percent.

  -- Labrador comes in at 23 percent; with Ahlquist at 15 percent.

  -- A third of Republicans are still undecided who they like in next year’s governor’s race.

  -- Labrador leads the GOP pack among those who self-identified to the pollster that they are “very conservative” politically. Labrador gets 35 percent of this demographic vote; Little 17 percent; and Ahlquist 15 percent.

 -- Ahlquist is a Mormon, and has held various lay leadership positions in the Idaho LDS community. He leads among the LDS voters, getting 23 percent of the vote compared to Little’s 22 percent. Labrador gets 17 percent of the Mormon vote.

 -- It would make sense that Labrador would do well among his own 1st District voters. He gets 22 percent of the vote there, compared to 21 percent for Little. Ahlquist comes in at 12 percent in that western district.

But one might think Labrador would do better in the 1st District – which he has represented and been on the ballot since 2010.

 -- 36 percent of 1st District voters are still undecided.

This early in a race, name I.D. plays a big part in the polls, as most campaigning is still low key and many voters aren’t paying much attention.

Ahlquist is better known in Boise, where he worked as an emergency room doctor and more recently has been a business/developer leader.

 -- Jones finds that 16 percent of the 2nd  Congressional District (which includes Boise) supports Ahlquist currently; while Labrador gets only 12 percent and Little gets 22 percent support.

Jones polled 619 adults from Nov. 8-15. The survey has a statewide margin of error of plus or minus 3.94 percent.

(Correction: After this story was published, Idaho Politics Weekly learned that Democrat A.J. Balukoff has announced his candidacy for governor. He will be included in future surveys.)