BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho’s third-party gubernatorial candidate is following the lead of the state’s largest business lobbyist group and has launched an attack website criticizing incumbent Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s political stances.
Former Canyon County prosecutor and Libertarian candidate John Bujak said he put up the site after seeing the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry use the same tactic to attack Democratic candidate A.J. Balukoff as a liberal.
“It’s kind of rough running as a third-party candidate,” he said. “I’m rattling the cage every chance I can get.”
Bujak’s site is called “liberalotter.com,” similar to the lobbyist’s site called “liberalaj.com.”
On the site, Bujak criticizes the governor as “too liberal for Idaho.” The site includes a video where Otter’s face morphs into Balukoff’s and back again with no audio.
Otter’s campaign spokeswoman said they haven’t seen the site as of Wednesday and did not have a response.
The site goes after Otter’s involvement in creating a state-based health insurance exchange, claiming he supports the federal health care reform law known officially as the Affordable Care Act and colloquially by some as Obamacare and wants to expand Idaho’s Medicaid eligibility -which is another provision under the law.
However, Otter has repeatedly said he will not support expansion unless the federal assistance program for low-income adults changes. Otter has also ignored for two years the recommendations of a task force he commissioned in 2012 that said expansion was the best option for Idaho.
“Governor Otter is part of the good old boys. In order to help his buddies, he will expand Medicaid,” Bujak said. “He’s going to pull it out next legislative session under a different name, and he’s going to allow it to be expanded. I have no doubt.”
The site also claims Otter has doubled Idaho’s dependency on federal funding since he took over the office in 2006. The site adds that currently more than one-third of Idaho’s government relies on the federal government for money.
According to state budget documents, though, Idaho has consistently relied on federal funds to make up 33 to 38 percent of the state’s total revenue for the past two terms Otter has been in office.
Further, a recent study from personal finance website WalletHub released earlier this year said that while Idaho relies on federal dollars, Idahoans aren’t forking over more in taxes. Instead, the state gets back $1.40 for every dollar its residents pay in federal taxes.
Asked why his site didn’t provide more details accusing Otter of increasing the state’s federal dependency, Bujak said the main focus should be that the governor hasn’t done enough to reduce federal dollars coming into the state.
“We’re bowing down to the demands of the federal government,” he said.
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