Paulette Jordan (Coeur d’Alene Tribe) wins Democratic primary for Idaho governor |

Paulette Jordan (Coeur d’Alene Tribe) wins Democratic primary for Idaho governor

By Kevin MacMillan | First Nation's Focus
Paulette Jordan is an enrolled member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe of Idaho.
Courtesy Idaho Legislature

BOISE, Idaho — Former Idaho Rep. Paulette Jordan (D-Coeur d’Alene) won the May 15 primary election and will represent the Democratic party in the race for the state’s open gubernatorial seat.

If Jordan, 38, wins the general election in November, she would not only be the first woman to serve as Idaho governor, but also the first American Indian to serve as governor of any state in the history of the United States.

Her nomination also makes her the first woman to become the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Idaho.

Jordan is a native of Idaho and an enrolled member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. She easily won the May 15 primary against 72-year-old Boise businessman A.J. Balukoff, according to media reports.

“We are all one. Like all of you, I am a Westerner. I was raised by Idaho,” she told supporters, according to The Washington Post. “I come here on the vision and the prayer of our ancestors. They suffered and sacrificed for far too long for us to not see this win tonight. We have a better Idaho and we’ve seen that tonight.”

She also took to Twitter that evening to simply thank her supporters:

She will face off against current Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who earned the Republican nomination easily during the May 15 primary.

Little is an Idaho native who has spent the past 16 years in elected office; he has vowed to continue outgoing Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s “legacy of leading the state’s recent explosive growth,” according to the Associated Press. He’s served as Otter’s second in command since 2009.

According to the AP, the winner of the Republican primary in Idaho tends to indicate who will be Idaho’s next governor come January. Idaho hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since 1990; further, the Republican Party now controls a supermajority on all federal, state and legislative seats.

Prior to May 15, Jordan was serving her second term in the Idaho House of Representatives. She is a member of the Idaho House Resources and Conservation Committee, State Affairs Committee and the Energy, Environment & Technology Committee.

Jordan is also an appointed Idaho Representative to the Energy and Environment Committee of the Council of State Governments for the Western Region.

According to the AP, the last American Indian to hold a statewide office in Idaho was in 1990, when Larry Echo Hawk ran as a Democrat for attorney general.

The following statement was released by Democratic Leadership in the Idaho State House and Senate on May 15: “We congratulate Paulette Jordan for her victory tonight. The primary has energized so many voters around the state and we sincerely hope that momentum carries into the general election. Like so many Idahoans, Democrats value the opportunities that education and expanded access to quality healthcare can bring to our citizens. We support Paulette’s fight to bring those issues to the forefront so every Idahoan has a fair shot at success, prosperity and a healthy future.

“We applaud A.J. Balukoff for running a vigorous campaign and know he will continue to be a leader on the issues that matter most to all Idahoans.”

Visit to learn more about Jordan’s campaign.