- Associated Press - Thursday, March 20, 2014

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned in Boise on Thursday on behalf of Republican Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, U.S. Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, and U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho.

Romney said he was endorsing the three because they are good conservatives, and because they were early endorsers of his presidential campaign.

Romney also said GOP-dominated Idaho is a good example of how conservative principles can lead to economic prosperity.

“There are more jobs in Idaho and you see rising incomes,” Romney said. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Romney, who lost to President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, also said he does not plan to run for president again.

Otter is seeking a third term as governor, and faces a challenge from the right from state Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, in the May Republican primary.

“He is one of the best governors in the country,” Romney said of Otter.

“I’m proud and humbled to have the endorsement of Mitt Romney,” Otter said.

Otter touted Idaho’s low unemployment rate as a sign that his ideas are working. Fulcher has contended that Idaho’s position near the bottom of many social and economic measures is unacceptable.

Simpson is seeking a ninth term in the House, and faces a primary challenge from Republican Bryan Smith.

Simpson has “fought hard for conservative principles that work,” Romney said.

Simpson noted his efforts to rein in the federal government, and predicted “this is going to be a difficult campaign, a long campaign and there is going to be a lot of money spent on it.”

Smith has won the conservative group Club for Growth’s support in his bid to unseat Simpson.

One flashpoint in this GOP duel has centered on which candidate likes President Obama’s health care overhaul the least.

Smith accuses Simpson of not trying hard enough to repeal it. Romney described Simpson as a lawmaker who has “fought to repeal Obamacare.”

Risch is seeking a second term in the Senate.

Romney noted Risch’s stalwart opposition to the health care overhaul.

“This is a man who should have been president of the United States,” Risch said of Romney.

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