In gubernatorial debates Republicans ready to lead, Democrats not ready for prime time

April 23, 2018

In back-to-back Primary gubernatorial debates, the major candidates for governor gave Idaho voters a stark contrast: Stumbling Democrats offered vague rhetoric with little detail, while Republicans showed a firm command of the issues.

In a debate on Idaho Public Television Sunday, Democratic gubernatorial candidates A.J. Balukoff and Paulette Jordan struggled to answer questions coherently and offered a relentlessly negative picture of Idaho’s economy, schools and quality of life. Their proposals for curing what allegedly ails Idaho mainly involved more government spending.

By contrast, on Monday Republican candidates Tommy Ahlquist, Raul Labrador and Brad Little presented confident, positive visions for Idaho’s future and were able and willing to delve into policy details.

The contrast extended to the two sides’ views on major issues: the Republicans support lower taxes while Democrats don’t; Republicans want to repeal and replace Obamacare because it has caused Idahoans’ health insurance costs to skyrocket, while Democrats don’t think Obamacare needs reform; Republicans want to keep state spending at reasonable levels while Democrats support much higher spending, although they wouldn’t or couldn’t go into detail on their spending plans.

Idaho Republican Party Chairman Jonathan Parker called out the Democrats for their inability to offer specifics on many of the questions posed to them, and for veering far to the left of most voters.

“Neither Democratic candidate appears ready for prime time,” said Parker.

“We have three Republicans who showed what a governor looks like: informed, interested in the details, in sync with the views and values of most Idahoans, and ready to govern on day one.”

Parker said the Democrats’ negative take on Idaho won’t go over well with voters.

“Trashing the state you want to lead isn’t exactly a winning strategy,” he said. “Idahoans don’t mind straight talk, but they do expect their next governor to be positive and hopeful about our great state of Idaho.”

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