- Associated Press - Friday, October 17, 2014

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate’s latest television advertisement features a Republican school superintendent explaining that he’s planning to vote outside his party for the first time.

However, voting records show that the superintendent did not vote in an Idaho election during the little more than four years he’s lived in the state.

A.J. Balukoff’s campaign first aired the statewide commercial Oct. 4 featuring south-central Idaho’s Shoshone School District Superintendent Rob Waite. He has since become a prominent figure in the Balukoff campaign as a prime example of Republicans’ disenchantment with Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, who is seeking his third term.

Boise businessman and school board president Balukoff, meanwhile, has said improving Idaho’s public education system is his number one priority for seeking office.

“We have trouble holding onto our best teachers, and our classrooms are too crowded, close to 40 districts have gone to four-day school weeks,” Waite says in the commercial. “I’ve been a Republican all my adult life. I don’t think I’ve ever voted for a Democrat, but this November I’m voting for A.J. Balukoff.”

According to Idaho voting records, Waite first registered as a Republican to vote in Idaho in June, and he has never voted in the state.

This includes not voting in the November 2012 election where voters rejected Propositions 1, 2 and 3 -education overhauls pushed by current state schools Superintendent Tom Luna - as well as not voting for his own district’s $300,000 supplemental levy in March.

Waite moved to Idaho from Oregon in 2010. Oregon voting records show the superintendent registered as a Republican in 1998 and voted in 16 of past 20 elections.

Balukoff’s campaign spokesman Mike Lanza said they knew about Waite’s voting history.

“I don’t think it’s misleading,” Lanza said. “Here is an educator who is a Republican who is saying the state is going in the wrong direction. This is a genuine person with genuine beliefs.”

Waite said he didn’t register to vote in Idaho because when he moved to the state, he still hadn’t sold his house in Oregon.

“I didn’t think it was fair to register to vote when I still had a dual residency,” he said. “Did it take me longer to register to vote than I probably should have? Yeah. But it’s not until recently I was able to sell my house in Oregon.”


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