Current Idaho Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin is running to unseat incumbent governor and fellow Republican Brad Little. Idaho, a state in which Donald Trump received nearly 64% of the vote, is currently more of a “purple state” under Little’s leadership, McGeachin says. Through a combination of effective use of executive power and working directly with voters, McGeachin hopes to solidify Idaho as a “ruby red state.”
In Idaho, the offices of governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately. When the governor is out of the state, all the office’s duties and responsibilities fall to the lieutenant governor.
When Little left Idaho to attend the Republican Governors Association conference in May 2021, McGeachin issued an executive order that prohibited mask mandates from being imposed throughout the state. “Today, as acting Governor of the State of Idaho, I signed an Executive Order to protect the rights and liberties of individuals and businesses by prohibiting the state and its political subdivisions — including public schools — from imposing mask mandates in our state,” McGeachin wrote in a tweet at the time.
The order, which was issued without Little’s knowledge, was rescinded as soon as he returned to the state. Little referred to the move as an “irresponsible, self-serving political stunt.”
Despite Little’s objections, the move against mandates has aged quite well, data shows. At the time, only Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had issued a ban on statewide mask mandates. Although some states never issued a statewide mandate, DeSantis took the additional step of preventing municipalities from issuing their own.
By October 2021, Florida was experiencing some of the lowest case rates in the nation. Most notably, the state was recording national lows while others, such as New York, fared worse despite having some of the nation’s most draconian pandemic restrictions in place.
Lt. Governor McGeachin believes that Idaho should be leading the way for red states, including Florida, and points to her “outside the box” thinking last May as proof of her ability to lead the state in that direction. “Idaho is a ruby red conservative state in terms of the people, but with weak Republican leadership we’re becoming more of a purple state,” McGeachin told National File. “Why is Idaho not showing Florida how to lead? There is no reason why we shouldn’t be a trend-setting red state.”
Idaho is the fastest growing state in the nation, with a population increase of 2.12% from 2019, according to 2020 Census data. McGeachin wants Idaho, like Florida, to become an attractive destination for conservative Americans who are fleeing blue states in droves. “When I travel the state, I’ve found that these people are some of the most involved,” McGeachin said of Idaho’s new arrivals. “I’ve had multiple people say things like ‘I came to Idaho because it’s such a conservative state’, and they’re shocked to learn that the same policies are taking root here,” she continued. “Their eyes are wide open to what they fled.”
McGeachin does not believe that Governor Little governs according to the needs and wants of Idaho’s fast-growing “ruby red” electorate. “He believes in the masks and in the mandates. He does not take a strong stand for conservative principles,” she said of Governor Little.
Last November, Lt. Governor McGeachin received former President Trump’s endorsement. “Janice is great on Election Integrity, will always fight for strong Borders, our cherished Second Amendment, American Manufacturing, School Choice, and our wonderful American FARMERS!” Trump wrote in a statement at the time.
President Donald J. Trump announces his endorsement of Janice McGeachin for Governor of Idaho pic.twitter.com/gE6Yg8cdes
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) November 9, 2021
McGeachin believes that Idaho’s economic and trend-setting potential can only be reached if election integrity issues are fully addressed. “I support full forensic audits in all of our elections,” McGeachin told National File. “The people of Idaho want to feel that their vote matters and that their leaders are representing what they voted for.”
Idaho’s primary election is slated for Tuesday, May 17.