Longtime Boise businessman and Boise school board member A.J. Balukoff told KTVB he will be launching a formal campaign for the governor's seat in the very near future.
The Democrat who came within 15 percentage points of Gov. Butch Otter in the 2014 election says he believes the state is ripe for a change of party in the top spot.
“I'm ready. Four years ago, when I ran I talked about health care and education ... four years later, not a lot has changed," said Balukoff.
Balukoff invested $3 million of his own money in 2014 for his campaign. When asked if he was ready to re-boot that formula in 2018 he replied:
"My wife Suzie and I have discussed it and we're prepared to jump in fully committed."
Committed, he said, because of the current political climate in Idaho and in other states around the country where citizens have voted for a change of party in elections.
"We've been under a one-party domination for 57 years and they've led us to the bottom in a lot of areas, particularly education," said Balukoff.
"It's encouraging to see what's happening in some of these states that are traditionally very red and now are looking at Democrats. "I hope that happens here in Idaho. I think it's important that people look beyond party labels and say, 'what do our candidates stand for personally.'"
Running on a platform anchored by education and health care, he wants to expand Medicaid. Balukoff said he believes a campaign that is devoid of an incumbent bodes well for him.
“It's always more difficult to unseat an incumbent. I think running in an open seat where you don't have the incumbent it helps everybody and it should give me a leg up no matter who the Republican nominee is.”