When should an outsider or challenger to an Idaho legislator start their campaign?
That is, it should be done far sooner than most candidates start. parliamentary candidates should wait to announce until after the off-year parliamentary session. As far as we know, that session is over for the year, so start a campaign.
Effective outsider campaigns for statewide office take longer. Much longer.
If the goal is to win, a challenger—mostly Democrats in Idaho, but also Republican primary challengers—has more work than most candidates realize.
Researching the political environment, building local support and organizations, and securing funds and foreign backing takes time. Local and grassroots support and advocacy are possible, but those without celebrity and money need a lot of time.
This month, a governor contender officially launched her campaign. For governor. 2026 election.
Reread the preceding paragraphs if that seems premature.
In 2022, Democratic Idaho lieutenant governor nominee Terri Pickens ran. She was born and reared in Pocatello, attended the University of Idaho in Moscow, and practiced law in Lewiston and Boise as an attorney. Last year, she ran for lieutenant governor unopposed in the Democratic primary but lost to Republican Scott Bedke with 30.5% of the vote.
None of those is unusual in Idaho general election history.
She’s unusually filed papers to run three and a half years from now. Her ambitious aim to develop that campaign immediately and for three years is: She claimed the filing is the start of a 1,000-day campaign.
“This year, we saw some of the meanest, most extreme, cruel laws proposed and enacted in Idaho,” she says. Lawmakers want our freedoms. I’m checking support for a gubernatorial candidate that knows freedom is more than a flag. I will run for governor and win with adequate support.”
That far off, there are many unknowns. The Republican nominee is unknown. Will incumbent Brad Little run? Can he beat Attorney General Raul Labrador, who is expected to run?
Could another appear? It’s years away. Bridges will transport a lot of water.
This doesn’t guarantee Pickens’ victory: Since their previous success, Idaho Democrats have lost eight straight governorships, none of which were close. A positive prognosis lacks recent history.
Trends fade. Start early and campaign heavily to break this one. Watch this.