Kevin Miller, Townsquare Media

Ronald Reagan would be proud.  Despite all the naysayers, and a closer than expected general election, Governor Butch Otter wins reelection for a historic third consecutive term. He defied the odds by simply doing what he does best, outworking any political opponent and relying on his extensive personal relations.

Governor Otter was very emotional in thanking the Riverside Crowd, "it has been a great one, because of you all,  I thank you for your support and republican principals.  You've got our back and we appreciate it.  I was kinda waiting for a phone call, but I didn't want this evening to close without saying thanks.  You've done it."

The third term chief executive detailed his vision for the future.  "Now we go forward with a vision and a plan.  How many times have we had a five year plan for education.  Cowboys understand that rules can change but principals can't.  These are the principals of this Cowboy party."

When it comes to comparing the Gem State to the other forty eight, Governor Otter did not hold back his views on marriage and traditional values.  "Idaho is the last change to standup for traditional marriage and I will continue that fight as long as I can.  We cannot give up on our values...  Why should we change.. Why should we leave our values... We are the reddest of the red states in the United States of America."

This race proved that money cannot stop a united republican party in the Gem State.  I was very sentimental during our last interview with the governor last week.  Whether he won or lost, this was his last campaign.  He's been involved in Idaho Politics since 1972.


The governor relied on his country roots as he did in the primary.  The GOP bus tour was not just a fun ride along, it was a calculated move to rally the Otter base.  As he moved from city to city, he reminded rural Idaho that their governor has not forgotten about them.

He received a last minute effective lead block from Mitt Romney.  The governor's staff acutely used Romney's appearance for last minute TV and radio commercials that were very effective.

He overcame the alleged Otter fatigue, a bruising primary, and a rift that almost destroyed the republican party. In the end, despite a massive amount of effort, money, and resources, AJ Balukoff came up short.  His social media presence was something that this state has not seen.  Did he lose the race or did Otter win it?

One factor that cannot be underestimated is the impact of the Ninth Circuit's decision on striking down Idaho's Marriage Protection Amendment.  Governor Otter quickly embraced the battle for traditional marriage.  This was a signal to the base that the governor would continue their fight.  While his opponents punted on the political hot potato, Butch Otter ran home to the right.  For those of you keeping score at home, this was his twenty fifth campaign.

I believe in the end, Gem State Republicans came home to their governor.  They were not comfortable, in the age of Obama, electing a democrat.  The governor correctly reminded Idaho voters of their shared values.  That made the big difference in this years election. Governor Otter's new challenge will be to continue to deny the naysayers and to governed as he campaigned.  We're all winner when that happens.  This one was for the Gipper.