Campaign season always brings out the most interesting endorsements.
In Idaho, the primary election season is everything. Idaho doesn’t have very many “swing” districts, so the primary winner usually goes on to win the general election.
That’s why major endorsements and most political resources are spent during the primary.
Recently, two big establishment names are throwing their weight behind any challenger to a liberty candidate.
Former Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and current Congressman Mike Simpson are trying to endorse every single weak-kneed, moderate candidate they can find.
These endorsements are telling because they go against the narrative that has been pushed in the GOP for many years.
If you go against an establishment candidate, the party elite will tell you they can’t support the opponent because the incumbent is the person they get behind. That’s how it was for years.
In fact, Butch Otter had a mantra often referred to as “riding the brand.”
Otter meant that “good Republicans” supported GOP incumbents no matter what.
Otter himself tossed that out the door in 2018 when Otter decided not to support primary winner Chad Christensen. Instead, he supported primary loser Tom Loertscher, who ran a write-in campaign in a desperate attempt to keep his House seat.
Ride the brand? Not anymore.
At the time he endorsed Loertscher’s write-in campaign, Otter was still the governor of Idaho!
Fast forward to 2020 and the establishment is going all-in against incumbent “liberty candidates.”
For instance, Otter just endorsed Rep. Tammy Nichols’ moderate challenger. Nichols’ challenger, who won’t be named here, supports the local option sales tax, which local governments would use to raise taxes on Idaho families.
How conservative is that?
Simpson has endorsed Christensen’s 2020 primary challenger and so has Butch Otter.
Gun rights champion Christy Zito, looking to win the District 23 Senate seat, finds herself in the crosshairs of moderate state senators, representatives, Otter, and Simpson.
Simpson has endorsed Rep. Dorothy Moon’s opponent and the moderate who is challenging Rep. Bryan Zollinger.
This façade that you must “ride for the brand” and support the incumbent is officially done.
Neither Otter nor Simpson is a conservative and calling them “moderates” would be generous at this best.
Otter was responsible for bringing Obamacare into Idaho, often referred to as Ottercare. He also brought in the failed Common Core standards, huge state spending increases, and hundreds, if not thousands, of new regulations that make it hard for small business owners to make a living.
Otter also opposed Constitutional Carry, but intense pressure from gun owners eventually persuaded the moderate governor to sign the bill.
And remember that the last time Idaho voters saw Otter endorsing something in the media, he was speaking in favor of Idaho’s Medicaid expansion, a policy that put tens of thousands of able-bodied Idahoans on taxpayer-funded government healthcare.
Simpson is also a notorious gun control advocate.
He supports Universal Background Checks, which would prohibit Idahoans from selling their firearms to those they know without government permission.
He also supported the “Fix NICS” gun control bill, which dumped thousands of innocent gun owners’ names into a government database. The NICS system has been responsible for tens of thousands of innocent gun owners being denied firearms at the point of purchase.
If you are an Idaho voter and you see Simpson or Otter’s name endorsing someone, vote for the other candidate.
Finally, “riding the brand” was obviously nothing but hot air from the former Governor, and Simpson clearly has put the idea out to pasture as well.
The only “brand” that voters need to concern themselves with are limited-government candidates who will actually uphold the Constitution.