Idaho could elect the nation's first Native American governor
Even though there’s no presidential election this year, it’s still a big year for politics. Many states will elect new members of Congress and governors, and to gear up for these November midterms, primary elections are taking place across the country. This year has already proved historic, with the largest-ever number of women running for political office. And now, Paulette Jordan has won the Idaho Democratic primary for governor, meaning she could become the nation’s first Native American governor.
Jordan, a 38-year-old progressive, defeated Boise school board member A.J. Balukoff in the Democratic primary last night, May 15th. With nearly 97 percent of precincts reporting, she has earned 58.5 percent of the vote, while Balukoff netted 40 percent.
A member of the Coeur d’Alene tribe, Jordan has served two terms in the Idaho House of Representatives. As a candidate, she has advocated for expanding Medicaida, raising the minimum wage, protecting public lands, and increasing teachers’ salaries. And she has campaigned on Idaho’s first all-female ticket, selecting Kristin Collum as her running mate. But, like many Idahoans, Jordan was raised on a farm, which could allow her to connect with voters.
Despite the excitement surrounding her campaign, Jordan has her work cut out for her if she wants to win in November. In the upcoming election, she will face Lt. Governor Brad Little, who won the Republican primary with 37 percent of the vote. Idaho is deeply conservative, and the state has never elected a female governor.
Jordan’s primary victory is an invigorating step, and we’ll be following her campaign as she prepares for the November election. Regardless of if she wins or loses, Jordan has already made history, and we hope that her success will pave the way for more women and people of color in office.