After a short three-second burst of classical music over my phone earpiece, all I heard was “The mailbox is full.” It was just the latest of several attempts to get a response from Paulette Jordan, who aspires to be Idaho’s next governor. I wasn’t alone. Fellow columnist Chuck Malloy expressed similar frustration recently. I reached out to my talk radio friends in other parts of the state. Their efforts have been equally futile. Without mentioning names, even folks within the Democrat party communications apparatus acknowledged they’re hearing a common frustration from many in the media.
Shortly after Jordan’s stunning victory in the Idaho Democrat Primary election, I issued a warning to my conservative friends that the political dynamics of this particular race had the potential to produce a surprising result for Idaho. Jordan’s young, fresh, populist image could pose a novel threat to Brad Little’s campaign — a solid, though less novel known commodity.
In his genuine and heartfelt final farewell column, former Cecil Andrus advisor Chris Carlson, whose time on this earth is limited, gave a full-throated endorsement to Little. But he didn’t stop there. He characterized Jordan as “… the most unqualified candidate I’ve seen in years. It’s shameful that she is carrying the D standard.”
I made a visit to Jordan’s campaign Facebook page. There you’ll find pictures of her with Al Gore and CNN’s Brooke Baldwin. Somewhere floating around is a picture of her with Barack Obama as well. I’m not particularly a fan of ad hominem rhetoric, but these images greatly harm her election hopes.
I am lowering my threat level to “Brad Little could probably kill a puppy on TV and still win.”
On July 4th in Pocatello, the conservative news/talk radio station I oversee was placed directly behind Democrat Lt. Governor Candidate Kristin Collum and her entourage in the parade lineup. It was a political juxtaposition, but a delightful one. Waiting before the parade began, we shook hands. We chatted, laughed, and even took pictures together. Collum — Jordan’s “running mate” — readily agreed to an interview. Cindy Wilson, the Democrats’ nominee for State Superintendent of Public instruction was more than eager for some air time as well.
If there’s one thing Collum and Wilson understand, it’s that any Democrat intent on winning in Idaho must appeal to a significant portion of the conservative voting electorate that dominates the Gem State. It’s impossible to read minds. Perhaps Jordan doesn’t like — or even communicate with — media that is not overtly friendly to her. Maybe she’s not doing any general election interviews with in-state media until we get closer to November. It’s possible that she has crafted an exotic political strategy that builds constituencies in unorthodox ways. Maybe she knows the likely outcome of her race and is forging the groundwork for a national presence. Or, she has simply gone rogue from the state party and is running things her way. I have no idea.
But what I do know is that Idahoans deserve some answers to some important questions before they decide to cast their vote in three months. To avoid varnished politician-speak non-answers, I never provide a list of questions to candidates before I interview them. I’m making an exception. Here is a start to the questions I would ask Paulette Jordan if she would return my call:
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, sending the burden of abortion law back to the states, would you sign or veto legislation restricting abortion?
Has Obamacare been good for Idaho? For the country?
What posture should Idaho take toward illegal immigrants… amnesty, sanctuary status, deportation, pathway to citizenship, etc.?
Donald Trump won the state of Idaho with nearly two-thirds of the vote. Do you share enough of President Trump’s values to attract many of those votes? If so, elaborate.
Did you vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016? If so, how can you serve a state that rejected her so dramatically?
Why did your legislative colleagues largely back A.J. Balukoff in the Democrat primary?
How did you not know that a governor does not sign voter initiatives, the process for a lawmaker stepping down mid-session, or that you’re not the only democrat ever to represent northern Idaho? Are these not rookie mistakes that should disqualify anyone wanting the job of governor?
Your campaign blurred the Melaleuca logo in a 4th of July campaign picture, but never fully explained why; other corporate and organization logos appear clearly in many of your campaign pictures. Were you afraid of being associated with the company or Frank VanderSloot?
Finally, you believe in man-caused climate change. Do you believe the United States should have withdrawn from the Paris Accord?
Every voter in Idaho faces a choice this November. We have a right to know the politics behind the names. I can’t even count how many times I’ve questioned Brad Little over the years. I have no doubt he’d join me tomorrow on my radio show if his schedule allowed. His politics are known.
We deserve to know Paulette Jordan’s politics as well as we know Brad Little’s before we make this big decision.
Associated Press award-winning columnist Neal Larson of Idaho Falls writes at www.neallarson.com. He is also the author of “Living in Spin.” He is a conservative talk show host on KID Newsradio 106.3 and 92.1, and also at www.kidnewsradio.com. “The Neal Larson Show” can be heard weekday mornings from 8:00 to 10:00. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.