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Idaho gubernatorial election, 2014

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Idaho Gubernatorial Election

Primary Date:
May 20, 2014

General Election Date:
November 4, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Butch Otter Republican Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Butch Otter Republican Party

Idaho State Executive Elections
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Current trifecta for Republicans
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State executive offices in Idaho
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The Idaho gubernatorial election took place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Butch Otter (R) ran for re-election, as the state has no gubernatorial term limits. Otter won another four-year term against Democratic candidate A.J. Balukoff and four third-party candidates.

Idaho is one of 21 states with a mixed primary system. Parties decide who may vote. The Democratic Party allows unaffiliated voters to vote in their primary. The Republican Party allows only voters registered with their party. Unaffiliated voters can choose to affiliate with a party on election day, but they will be bound to that party at the next election as well.[1]

The governor's office has been held by the Republican Party since 1995, including large margins of victory in the past three elections. Polling in mid-October showed the race between Otter and Balukoff tightening to a four-point margin, as third-party candidates accumulated support from 12 percent of respondents.


General election

Republican Party Butch Otter - Incumbent Green check mark transparent.png[2]
Democratic Party A.J. Balukoff[3]
Libertarian Party John T. Bujak[4]
Independent Pro-Life[5]
Independent Jill Humble[4]
Constitution Party Steve Pankey[4]

Lost in the primary

Republican Party Walt Bayes[4]
Republican Party Harley D. Brown[4]
Republican Party Russell Fulcher[6][7]
Democratic Party Terry Kerr[4]


General election

Governor of Idaho, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngButch Otter Incumbent 53.5% 235,405
     Democratic A.J. Balukoff 38.6% 169,556
     Libertarian John T. Bujak 4.1% 17,884
     Independent Jill Humble 2% 8,801
     Constitution Steve Pankey 1.2% 5,219
     Independent Pro-Life 0.7% 2,870
     N/A Write-ins 0% 95
Total Votes 439,830
Election Results via Idaho Secretary of State.

Primary election

Republican primary

Governor of Idaho, Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngButch Otter Incumbent 51.4% 79,779
Russell Fulcher 43.6% 67,694
Harley D. Brown 3.3% 5,084
Walt Bayes 1.8% 2,753
Total Votes 155,310
Election Results via Idaho Secretary of State.

Democratic primary

Governor of Idaho, Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngA.J. Balukoff 65.3% 16,751
Terry Kerr 34.7% 8,887
Total Votes 25,638
Election Results via Idaho Secretary of State.


May 14 Republican primary debate

Ninth Idaho GOP Gubernatorial Primary Debate - 5/14/14

On May 14, 2014, a televised debate between the Republican gubernatorial primary candidates - two-term incumbent Gov. Butch Otter, Idaho Senator Russ Fulcher, Walt Bayes and Harley Brown - was aired on Idaho Public Television.[8][9] The debate centered on fairly common conservative themes like wresting control of Idaho lands from the federal government, fighting both abortion and Obamacare and supporting blue-collar ways to fix the state's troubled economy. The predictability of issues raised in the debate was belied by a relentless stream of highly improbable responses by Bayes and Brown, whose deliberately politically incorrect proclamations on discrimination and abortion, among virtually every topic addressed, shifted the gravity of the event by several orders of magnitude. Bayes, an elderly ex-convict and staunch anti-abortionist with a beard full of bible snippets, and Brown, an engineer/biker with a colorful self-titled patois that necessitated a 30-second delay in the debate's broadcast, flustered the moderate and journalists with their unorthodox responses.[9] Bayes and Brown struck a sharp contrast with the more polished duo of Otter and Fulcher on the debate stage. The stage configuration gave the impression they were split into two teams rather than four candidates competing individually.[10]

The debate drew massive viewership and national media coverage for offering the public a rare glimpse into the sharp divides in Idaho politics. Although most of the attention focused on the unconventional candidates, it served as a platform for Otter and Fulcher to reach a wider audience with their campaign messages. For example, Otter used his time to remind voters about his successes in the governor's office over the last eight years, crediting himself with leading the state out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, lowering taxes while balancing the budget and reducing the size of the state government. "I'm honored to have been through the refining fire with you, and I'm excited about continuing to face the challenges of today and tomorrow," Otter stated. Fulcher, meanwhile, was able to promote his plan to set up a free-market health care alternative and restore Idaho's financial and land sovereignty by better utilizing the state's natural resources and expanding related state-based industries. He also condemned Otter's leadership over the economy and his navigation of the state's implementation of Obamacare.[10]

Summing up the roster of debaters seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination in the May 20 primary, Brown said: "Folks, you have a choice: A cowboy, a curmudgeon, a biker or a normal guy. Take your pick."[10]


Governor of Idaho - All candidates
Poll Butch Otter* A.J. BalukoffJohn T. BujakSteve PankeyJill HumblePro-LifeUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Polling
October 9-12, 2014
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.
Governor of Idaho - Balukoff v. Otter
Poll Butch Otter* A.J. BalukoffOther/UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
New York Times/CBS/YouGov
October 9-12, 2014
New York Times/CBS/YouGov
October 16-23, 2014
AVERAGES 55% 34% 11% +/-5.5 584.5
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

Note: An asterisk (*) denotes incumbent status.

Campaign media

The Idaho gubernatorial race went from sleepy to competitive in early October, when the Republican Governors Association (RGA) invested in TV ads attacking Democratic candidate A.J. Balukoff.[11] Here is a sampling of ads run by the RGA in the Idaho gubernatorial election:

RGA ad: California (October 1, 2014)

RGA ad: Script (October 14, 2014)

RGA ad: Everything (October 27, 2014)

Balukoff responded in October with an ad claiming that Gov. Otter received campaign cash from the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) while delaying an investigation into falsified records by the prison operator:

A.J. Balukoff ad: Butch Otter and the CCA: One Scandal Too Many (October 17, 2014)

Past elections


Idaho Governor, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngC.L. "Butch" Otter Incumbent 59.1% 267,483
     Democratic Keith Allred 32.9% 148,680
     Independent Jana M. Kemp 5.9% 26,655
     Libertarian Ted Dunlap 1.3% 5,867
     Independent Pro-Life (Marvin Thomas Richardson) 0.9% 3,850
Total Votes 452,535
Election Results via Idaho Secretary of State


Idaho Governor, 2006
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngC.L. "Butch" Otter 52.7% 237,437
     Democratic Jerry M. Brady 44.1% 198,845
     Constitution Marvin Richardson 1.6% 7,309
     Libertarian Ted Dunlap 1.6% 7,241
Total Votes 450,832
Election Results via Idaho Secretary of State


Idaho Governor, 2002
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngDirk Kempthorne 56.3% 231,566
     Democratic Jerry M. Brady 41.7% 171,711
     Libertarian Daniel L.J. Adams 2% 8,187
     Independent Kevin Powers 0% 13
Total Votes 411,477
Election Results via Idaho Secretary of State

Voter turnout

Political scientist Michael McDonald's United States Elections Project studied voter turnout in the 2014 election by looking at the percentage of eligible voters who headed to the polls. McDonald used voting-eligible population (VEP), or the number of eligible voters independent of their current registration status, to calculate turnout rates in each state on November 4. He also incorporated ballots cast for the highest office in each state into his calculation. He estimated that 81,687,059 ballots were cast in the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, representing 35.9 percent of the VEP.[12] By comparison, 61.6 percent of VEP voted in the 2008 presidential election and 58.2 percent of VEP voted in the 2012 presidential election.[13]

Quick facts

  • According to PBS Newshour, voter turnout in the 2014 midterms was the lowest since the 1942 midterms, which took place during the nation's involvement in World War II.[14]
  • Forty-three states and the District of Columbia failed to surpass 50 percent turnout in McDonald's analysis.
  • The three states with the lowest turnout according to McDonald's analysis were Texas (28.3 percent), Tennessee (28.6 percent) and Indiana (28.8 percent).
  • Maine (58.5 percent), Wisconsin (56.5 percent) and Colorado (54.5 percent) were the three states with the highest turnout.
  • There were only 12 states that increased voter turnout in 2014 compared to the 2010 midterm elections.[15]
Voter turnout rates, 2014
State Total votes counted  % voter eligible population Top statewide office up for election Size of lead (Raw votes) Size of lead (%)
Alabama 1,191,274 33.2 Governor 320,319 27.2
Alaska 285,431 54.4 Governor 4,004 1.6
Arizona 1,537,671 34.1 Governor 143,951 12.5
Arkansas 852,642 40.1 Governor 118,664 14
California 7,513,972 30.8 Governor 1,065,748 17.8
Colorado 2,080,071 54.5 Governor 50,395 2.4
Connecticut 1,096,509 42.5 Governor 26,603 2.5
Delaware 234,038 34.4 Attorney General 31,155 13.6
District of Columbia 177,176 35.8 Mayor 27,934 19
Florida 6,026,802 43.3 Governor 66,127 1.1
Georgia 2,596,947 38.5 Governor 202,685 8
Hawaii 369,554 36.5 Governor 45,323 12.4
Idaho 445,307 39.6 Governor 65,852 14.9
Illinois 3,680,417 40.9 Governor 171,900 4.9
Indiana 1,387,622 28.8 Secretary of State 234,978 17.8
Iowa 1,142,284 50.2 Governor 245,548 21.8
Kansas 887,023 43.4 Governor 33,052 3.9
Kentucky 1,435,868 44 U.S. Senate 222,096 15.5
Louisiana 1,472,039 43.8 U.S. Senate 16,401 1.1
Maine 616,996 58.5 Governor 29,820 4.9
Maryland 1,733,177 41.5 Governor 88,648 6.1
Massachusetts 2,186,789 44.6 Governor 40,361 1.9
Michigan 3,188,956 43.2 Governor 129,547 4.3
Minnesota 1,992,613 50.5 Governor 109,776 5.6
Mississippi 631,858 28.9 U.S. Senate 141,234 33
Missouri 1,426,303 31.8 Auditor 684,074 53.6
Montana 373,831 47.3 U.S. Senate 65,262 17.9
Nebraska 552,115 41.5 Governor 97,678 18.7
Nevada 547,349 29 Governor 255,793 46.7
New Hampshire 495,565 48.4 Governor 24,924 5.2
New Jersey 1,955,042 32.5 N/A N/A N/A
New Mexico 512,805 35.7 Governor 73,868 14.6
New York 3,930,310 29 Governor 476,252 13.4
North Carolina 2,939,767 41.2 U.S. Senate 48,511 1.7
North Dakota 255,128 45 U.S. House At-large seat 42,214 17.1
Ohio 3,149,876 36.2 Governor 933,235 30.9
Oklahoma 824,831 29.8 Governor 122,060 14.7
Oregon 1,541,782 53.5 Governor 59,029 4.5
Pennsylvania 3,495,866 36 Governor 339,261 9.8
Rhode Island 329,212 42.2 Governor 14,346 4.5
South Carolina 1,261,611 35.2 Governor 179,089 14.6
South Dakota 282,291 44.9 Governor 124,865 45.1
Tennessee 1,374,065 28.6 Governor 642,214 47.5
Texas 4,727,208 28.3 Governor 957,973 20.4
Utah 577,973 30.2 Attorney General 173,819 35.2
Vermont 193,087 38.8 Governor 2,095 1.1
Virginia 2,194,346 36.6 U.S. Senate 16,727 0.8
Washington 2,123,901 43.1 N/A N/A N/A
West Virginia 451,498 31.2 U.S. Senate 124,667 27.6
Wisconsin 2,410,314 56.5 Governor 137,607 5.7
Wyoming 168,390 39.3 Governor 52,703 33.6

Note: Information from the United States Elections Project was last updated on December 16, 2014.

Key deadlines

Deadline Event
May 20, 2014 Primary election
November 4, 2014 General election
November 19, 2014 Last day for State Board of Canvassers to meet to canvass the general election
January 5, 2015 Inauguration day for state executive officials in general election

Recent news

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All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Idaho Gubernatorial Election News Feed

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  2. Idaho Reporter, "Otter announces 2014 re-election run," December 15, 2011
  3. The Spokesman Review, "Democrat A.J. Balukoff launches Idaho governor campaign," December 4, 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Idaho Secretary of State, "List of All Candidate Declarations for 2014," accessed March 15, 2014
  5. Pro-Life for Governor of Idaho 2014 Official Campaign Website, "Homepage," accessed August 12, 2013
  6. Russ Fulcher for Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed October 22, 2013
  7. ‘’Idaho Statesman,’’ “Sen. Fulcher announces run for governor,” November 24, 2013
  8. abc News, "Fringe Contenders Send Idaho Governor Debate Viral," May 16, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Idaho Statesman, "Brown's profanity prompts 30-second delay for Idaho governor TV debate," May 8, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Politico, "Candidates in Idaho's GOP race for governor debate," May 14, 2014
  11. The Spokesman-Review, "Republican Governors Association launches attack ad against Balukoff, calling him ‘typical politician’," October 1, 2014
  12. United States Elections Project, "2014 November General Election Turnout Rates," November 7, 2014
  13. TIME, "Voter Turnout in Midterm Elections Hits 72-Year Low," November 10, 2014
  14. PBS, "2014 midterm election turnout lowest in 70 years," November 10, 2014
  15. U.S. News & World Report, "Midterm Turnout Down in 2014," November 5, 2014