Gov. C. L. Butch Otter beat out his challengers Tuesday night in the Republican primary, topping Russ Fulcher by 11,884 votes. Otter took just more than half the the GOP votes, with 51 percent endorsing him. Fulcher was not far behind, with 44 percent of the votes.

GOP candidates Harley Brown and Walt Bayes drew just a fraction of the ballot, with Brown garnering 3 percent of votes and Bayes taking in 2 percent.

The incumbent will try to hold on to his seat for a third term against Democrat winner AJ Balukoff. Balukoff received nearly double the votes of his opponent Terry Kerr. That's 65 percent of the Democrat voters to Kerr's 35 percent.

Otter and Balukoff will face off for the governor's seat in November's general election.

Balukoff said in a Wednesday morning statement that Otter's narrow victory was a signal that Idahoans were ready for a change in leadership.

Gov. Otter's narrow primary win over a relatively unknown, extremist opponent affirms what I've been hearing as I travel all over Idaho, Balukoff said. People like Butch well enough personally, but after almost 40 years as a career politician, it's time for him to retire to his ranch. Idahoans are hungry for new leadership, so we can get on with the important business of finally investing in our badly neglected public schools, creating good-paying jobs instead of a minimum-wage economy, and getting rid of the cronyism that has become too widespread in state government.

Balukoff also thanked the supporters who launched him to Tuesday night's victory.

I'm very gratified by the support I've received from Idahoans of all political stripes, and I look forward to working hard for the next six months to win the governor's office.

Otter declined to speak to a KTVB reporter Tuesday night, and has not issued any statement about his win. His campaign anticipated he would speak to the public Wednesday morning.

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