Idaho Lawmaker Seeks To Be First Native-American Governor

By John Celock

A second term Native American state legislator in Idaho has kicked off her bid for governor in next year’s election.

State Rep. Paulette Jordan (D) last week announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Idaho governor. Jordan, 38, is seeking to become the nation’s first Native American governor and Idaho’s first woman governor, along with being one of the nation’s youngest governors. Gov. Butch Otter (R) has announced that he does not plan on seeking a fourth term next year.

“On this journey, we must realize that it is not about man or woman—it is about leadership. That is how we reach our vision to make Idaho the best and safest place for our children and families to grow and prosper,” Jordan said in a post on her Facebook page. “We want our future to live a life without discrimination, racial profiling, abuse, harassment, and injustice. Now is the time to act.”

Jordan is currently in her second term in the Idaho House of Representatives, where she serves on the Environment, Energy and Technology Committee, the Resources and Conservation Committee and the State Affairs Committee. She served on the Coeur D’Alene Tribal Council for three years and has been involved in a variety of state groups. Jordan is also a board member and finance chairman for the National Indian Gaming Association.

Jordan will face off in a Democratic primary against 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee A.J. Balukoff. Balukoff, a Boise businessman and school board member, spent $3 million of his own money in his 2014 gubernatorial race and received 39 percent of the vote against Otter. On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Brad Little and U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador are seeking the party’s nomination for governor.

The last Democrat to win the Idaho governorship was former Gov. Cecil Andrus (D), when he won his fourth nonconsecutive term in 1990.

If elected Jordan will be the nation’s first Native American to be governor of a state. Former Hawaii Gov. John Waihee (D) become the first Native Hawaiian to be elected to a state governorship when he was elected in 1986. Former state Attorney General Larry Echohawk (D) was the last Native American to hold statewide office in Idaho, serving one term before making an unsuccessful bid for governor in 1994. Former U.S. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) is the only Native American to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

Jordan is part of a growing field of thirty-something gubernatorial candidates nationwide. In Connecticut, three thirty-something candidates, Trumbell First Selectman Tim Herbst (R), 37, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (D), 37, and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin (D), 38, are seeking the governorship. Iowa state Sen. Nate Boulton, 37, is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in his state, Georgia state Rep. Stacey Evans, 39, is seeking the Democratic nomination in her state, Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt , 39, is seeking the GOP nomination in his state, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, 38, and businessman Chris King, 39, are both seeking the Democratic nomination for Florida governor, former Wisconsin state Rep. Kelda Helen Roys, 38, is seeking the Democratic nomination in her state, former Michelle Obama advisor Krish Vignarajah, 38, is seeking the Democratic nomination for Maryland governor, Idaho state Rep. Paulette Jordan, 37, is seeking the Democratic nomination in her state, former Kansas Agriculture Secretary Josh Svaty, 38, is seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in his state, businessman John Warren, 38, is seeking the GOP nomination in South Carolina and Maine Senate Minority Leader Garrett Mason, 32, is a candidate for the Republican nomination in his state.

In addition, several teenagers are running for governor in Kansas and Vermont.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R), 43, is currently the nation’s youngest governor. There are currently 14 statewide officials under the age of 40 in the country, with Virginia Lt. Gov.-elect Justin Fairfax (D) set to be sworn-in next month. Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles (R), 34, is the nation’s youngest statewide elected official and Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner (R), 29, who was appointed to fill a vacancy earlier this year, is the nation’s youngest statewide official.

Jordan wrote on Facebook that she believes that a team effort is needed in Idaho.

“Idaho’s future belongs to all of us,” she wrote. “Now it is up to us to work together to achieve a dream that is within reach.”

Statewide Officeholder Under 40

Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner (R), 29, (Appointed to Fill Vacancy)
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles (R), 34
North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson (R), 34
North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger (R), 34
Rhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner (D), 34
Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway (D), 35, (Appointed to Fill Vacancy)
Iowa Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg (R), 35, (Appointed to Fill Vacancy)
North Dakota Tax Commissioner Jon Godfried (R), 35
West Virginia Auditor J.B. McCluskey (R), 35
Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball (R), 36
Washington Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib (D), 36
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R), 37
North Dakota Auditor Josh Gallion (R), 38
Virginia Lt. Gov.-elect Justin Fairfax (D), 38
Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), 39

Gubernatorial Candidates Under 40 In 2018 Election

Junior High School Student Ethan Sonneborn (D), 13, (Vermont)
High School Student Jack Bergeson (D), 16, (Kansas)
High School Student Joseph Tutera, Jr. (R), 16, (Kansas)
High School Student Tyler Ruzich (R), 17, (Kansas)
High School Student Ethan Randleas (R), 17, (Kansas)
High School Student Dominic Scavuzzo (R), 17, (Kansas)
State Senate Minority Leader Garrett Mason (R), 32, (Maine)
State Sen. Nate Boulton (D), 37, (Iowa)
Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (D), 37, (Connecticut)
Trumbell First Selectman Tim Herbst (R), 37, (Connecticut)
State Rep. Paulette Jordan (D), 37, (Idaho)
Former Michelle Obama Advisor Krish Vignarajah (D), 38, (Maryland)
Former State Agriculture Secretary Josh Svaty (D), 38, (Kansas)
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D), 38, (Florida)
Former State Rep. Kelda Helen Roys (D), 38, (Wisconsin)
Businessman John Warren (R), 38, (South Carolina)
Businessman Chris King (D), 39, (Florida)
State Rep. Stacey Evans (D), 39, (Georgia)
State Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), 39, (Nevada)


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