Paulette Jordan (D. ID)
I admit I haven’t written a lot about the upcoming Governor’s race in Idaho but this Huffington Post is motivating me to get involved:
Some people, often older men, cry when they meet Jordan. Others tell her she’s inspiring them to vote for the first time in years. Strangers have asked her to marry them. A local artist spent months creating a portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe with an image of Jordan in it, dressed in what appears to be a velvet suit and standing on a crescent moon. (What?) Virtually everyone who crosses her path wants a photo with her, as HuffPost witnessed after traveling with her campaign for a few days this month.
Here in deep red Idaho, people across party lines are fanatic about this progressive, 38-year-old Native American woman vying for the state’s top seat. And it’s totally bizarre.
“I like her honesty and character and authenticity,” gushed Tri Robinson, a conservative Republican and evangelical pastor in Boise who hosted a fundraiser for Jordan. “She cares about what we care about. She cares about the poor. She cares about climate change.”
“I liked her before and I like her more now,” said Judy, a retiree who lives in Sweet and requested that she be identified only by first name. “I’ve never been to a town hall until now. I vote. I’m independent. What I like is that when you ask her a question, she doesn’t beat around the bush. She just answers the question.”
“She’s a breath of fresh air for Idaho,” said Robert Gatfield, a Democrat from Montour. “I met her in May. I shook hands with her and told her, ‘You remind me of Michelle Obama.’”
It has been a remarkable year for Jordan, a two-term state legislator who bucked her party’s establishment to become the gubernatorial nominee and beat her primary opponent, multimillionaire A.J. Balukoff, by 18 percentage points. She has been writing her own playbook the entire time: She’s not taking any corporate PAC money and supports Medicaid expansion while advocating for gun rights and rural ranching culture. Her go-it-alone approach has led to some hiccups, and old guard Democrats are irritated that she’s running an unconventional campaign that doesn’t include them. But she has undeniably shaken up the state’s political infrastructure and turned the governor’s race into a real fight.
The enthusiasm gap between Jordan and her opponent, 64-year-old multimillionaire Lt. Gov. Brad Little (R), was obvious after their last debate. The self-described undecided voters in attendance swarmed her for photos and questions as he quietly slipped out. One veteran waited in line for 15 minutes to meet her and promptly ripped a sticker off of his shirt bearing Little’s name, saying he is voting for her instead.
What the hell is going on with you, Idaho?
Jasper LiCalzi, the chair of the department of political economy at the College of Idaho, said Jordan has hit a sweet spot in the Idaho electorate: young people and women unhappy with President Donald Trump and people across all parties who feel ignored.
“She’s touching people who feel kind of alienated from the political process,” he said. “They don’t identify with Republicans at all, and Democrats haven’t really appealed to them. She does.”
There’s been very little polling in this race so anything could happen on November 6th. If you want to help pull off another surprise victory, click here to donate and get involved with Jordan’s campaign.