BOISE -- The deadline for candidates to file to run for offices from governor to representative is now two months away, with the last day on March 14.
As with most years here in Idaho, the Republican primaries tend to have some of the most interesting races, and this year will be no exception.
"This could be indeed one of the most interesting Republican primary races that we've seen in decades," KTVB Political Analyst Dr. Jim Weatherby said.
8 candidates have filed to fundraise for governor's race
As of Monday, eight people have filed to campaign fundraise for governor. Aggressive campaigns are already in progress in some cases.
"I think it'll be an expensive campaign, it'll be hard fought and bitter," Weatherby said.
Weatherby says the governor's contest will be a race all the way to November, with viable challengers in the Democratic Party and within incumbent Governor Butch Otter's own party.
"For the first time in many years, probably going back to 1966, that the incumbent Republican governor has a serious challenger in the primary," Weatherby said.
Democrat A.J. Balukoff has been campaigning, as has Senator Russ Fulcher. Governor Otter has not officially announced, though it is widely held that he will run. Others on the list for campaign fundraising include Walter Bayes, Harley Brown, John Bujak, Jill Humble, and Steve Pankey. Bujak was formerly Canyon County Prosecutor; he told KTVB he has not made a final decision.
Secretary of State race now has possible Democratic candidate
Secretary of State will be another big race with Ben Ysursa retiring. Holli Woodings, a Democratic state representative just filed fundraising papers but hasn't made a final decision to run.
Those running for the Republican slot have all announced official intent to run. Those candidates are Representative Lawerence Denney, former lawmaker Evan Frasure, Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane, and former state Senator Mitch Toryanski.
Still no announcement from Superintendent Luna, Attorney General Wasden or Treasurer Crane
For Superintendent of Public Instruction, incumbent Republican Tom Luna has not officially announced if he will run. Democratic candidate Jana Jones is the only other candidate with fundraising papers filed.
"We do have the potential of a rematch of 2006 between Tom Luna and Jana Jones, and that was a razor thin 51 percent, 49 percent in favor of Luna, so that will be a contest that I think a lot of people will watch in the general election," Weatherby said.
In the races for treasurer and attorney general, only the incumbents Ron Crane and Lawrence Wasden (respectively) have fundraising papers in, though neither has officially announced a run for 2014.
Lieutenant Governor is another with only one candidate filing to fundraise, with current Lieutenant Governor Brad Little having announced his official run for reelection.
For the office of Controller, Brandon Woolf, who was appointed to the position after Donna Jones retired, is running. Todd Hatfield, who came close in the controller primary last time, is also running.
The Tea Party effect on the primaries
"[Hatfield] introduces along with Lawerence Denney and Russ Fulcher and maybe some others, kind of the Tea Party wing or the insurgent wing of the party," Weatherby said. "In a number of these contests, it's going to be the establishment versus the conservative insurgents, or Tea Party backed candidates. It's a fight for the soul of the republican party in a very real sense."
Weatherby says there had been talk of a Tea Party ticket for all the state offices, and he said it seemed likely they'd run a candidate in every slot. He says this election will bring fundamental differences between Republican candidates to the surface.
As for if any more names will enter the races for Constitutional officers, Weatherby says it's getting down to the wire.
"How much longer can candidates wait and be able to put together a statewide campaign for a May 20th primary? It's very, very late at this point and every day we get closer to that election makes it more difficult for a challenger to come in and be successful," Weatherby said.
Candidates will file in early March - see complete list of current possible candidates
Candidates will make official declarations to run March 3 to March 14. Click here to see all candidates who currently have treasurer papers filed with the Secretary of State's Office.
Another elections deadline is coming up this Friday. That's the filing deadline for any schools that want to run bonds or levies in the March election. Nampa is one district considering that we're told the school board is supposed to decide Tuesday night.