This governor’s biggest critic of coronavirus is his own lieutenant governor!


And yet, a major struggle is underway – for the state’s response to coronaviruses, nothing less! – between Governor Brad Little and Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin. Idaho Statesman’s Cynthia Sewell reported last week that the two best Republican politicians have not spoken for three weeks and that McGeachin has personally challenged Little’s decrees to control the spread of coronavirus in Gem State.

But wait, there is more! McGeachin also wrote an editorial in the Statesman, which began: “As Lieutenant Governor, I am at a heartbeat from the President of the Governor. Uh, message received. And in case you missed that shot on Little, well, McGeachin made sure you didn’t miss this one: “I lose sleep at night because the heavy hand of our government hurts so many Idahoans. “

What did Little do to cause such a reaction from McGeachin? At first glance, not much. He made a state residence order on March 25 and let it expire on April 30. On that date, he unveiled a four-step process to reopen the state, starting with a first phase that has helped 90% of Idaho. businesses to reopen.

Over the past weekend – perhaps partly due to criticism from McGeachin – Little has moved the state to the second stage of the reopening process and moved the reopening of the bars to Stage 3 instead from step 4.

“We are one of the first states to reopen our economy,” said Little.

Given all of this, it’s hard not to see the not-so-hidden hand of politics in all of this. Unlike most states, Idaho elects its governor and lieutenant-governor separately – which means they don’t stand as a ticket. This translates into less unity, with the governor and lieutenant-governor sometimes operating less as a team than as potential future political rivals.

(Note: this was not the case for Little, who spent 10 years as deputy commander of Governor Butch Otter.)

What McGeachin seems to be doing is positioning himself for at least the possibility of a challenge to Little when his tenure ends in 2022. As the Lewiston Tribune columnist Marty Trillhaase wrote over the weekend:

“Whatever damage McGeachin did to Little or her condition, she benefited politically. McGeachin placed in first position to challenge Little from the right in the GOP 2022 primary. Anyone who wants this shot should pass it. “

That’s right. McGeachin has, with his open challenge to Little, effectively established himself as the party’s Trump wing champion while painting Little as part of the shy establishment. Which, honestly, is a very beneficial position for McGeachin if she wants to face Little in a Republican primary in 2022.

This is the nature of one-party states in the Trump era, of course. Ambitious lawmakers consider waiting for the governor (or a senator) to retire or being limited to an endless term – and decide that the best way to jump the line is to play the foreign renegade card at the billionaire businessman the White House.


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