BOISE - Lt. Gov. Brad Little has won the hotly contested GOP primary in the race to replace Idaho Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

Little secured the nomination Tuesday against top opponents U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador and Boise businessman Tommy Ahlquist.

The gubernatorial seat became a top political race when Otter announced he wouldn't seek a fourth term - marking the first time in 12 years that there were competitive primary races on both sides of the ticket for the top statewide office.

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The 64-year-old Little is a rancher and Idaho native who has spent the past 16 years in elected office. In 2009, Otter appointed Little to the number two position with the expectation that he would one day become the Republican governor's successor.

Little is the grandson of the "sheep king of Idaho," Andy Little, a Scotsman who came to Emmett in 1884 and built an empire with 100,000 sheep.