Lt Gov Risch had just planned to cake walk into another term as Lt. Gov, but now he has to decide – today! – to try to run against Otter for Gov, or to run for Lt. Gov, or neither. He’ll be the incumbent as Gov, but it’s very late to put together a campaign, and he’ll have a strong R opponent. If he tries to stick to Lt. Gov, he won’t be the incumbent. It’ll be whoever he appoints to backfill him.
Risch is not in a good position to run a strong campaing. As of Dec 31, 2005, Risch had $8,828.90 cash on hand, and has since received $500 from Annheuser-Busch and $3,000 from Quest PAC. His Lt. Gov campaign is still carrying $360,000 in debt; loans to himself. He has spent $822.75 in in-kind (how can you have in-kind expenses?) and $112 in advertising, which should leave him $12,216.90 in cash. Net value; -$347,783.10.
His Lt. Gov Opponents both show zero in contributions and expenses. Dan Romero (D) and Christian Zimmerman (R) have both filed campaign statements with the Sec of State. Dennis Mansfield, perennial anti-abortion wingnut candidate, has also talked about running but I can’t find a website and he hasn’t filed for the office with the Sec of State (he has until the end of today.) Also, William Charlie Wellisch of Dingle Idaho has filed, but he’s on the Constitutional Party andwon’t appear on the primary ballot.
Romero seems to be the most serious challenge for the Lt. Gov seat, but given his zero contributions and his admitted lack of political experience he has some serious obstacles. So, this could be a real opportunity for Dems to pick up a statewide seat, if we can capitalize on the uncertainties caused the the ripples from Kempthorn’s ascension. Here's Romero's website, which is linked to by almost no one.
(Note: I deleted a line about Risch getting a promise from his backfill not to run, but since the primary will already have happened, such a promise probably wouldn't be necessary.)