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BOISE -- A grocery industry lobbyist met with Gov. Butch Otter and other officials over mounting a campaign to privatize Idaho's state-controlled liquor sales, as retailers like Costco Wholesale Corp. hope success in neighboring Washington will spread to neighboring states.

Northwest Grocery Association President Joe Gilliam met with Otter staff, as well as Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, in a meet and greet on Dec. 20 to learn how to get a voter initiative on next November's ballot.

Gilliam must collect 47,432 registered voter signatures by April 30.

That tight deadline means a well-funded campaign is necessary, because proponents would likely need paid signature gatherers.

Retailer like Costco, which committed $22 million for Washington's measure, see untapped profits from states like Idaho that now sell liquor via highly regulated state stores.

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