Jim Risch is once again governor of Idaho. No, it's not just fantasy; while Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is in Cuba (See BW's exclusive report here), Risch is back as acting governor of Idaho.
But he's thinking about 2008, in particular the Senate seat occupied by Idaho Sen. Larry Craig. The longtime Idaho Republican is raising money, but hasn't made firm declarations about his intent to run for re-election.
In an interview in the governor's office today, Risch told BW that there is a "reasonable likelihood" that "if and only if" Craig does not run, he will run for the Republican nomination for the seat.
"I've been approached for over a year about it," Risch said. "I've never seen anything like this. It's been a groundswell."
Risch makes it plain, however, that he will not be running against his old friend Craig, who served with him in the Idaho Legislature in 1974.
"He needs our respect," Risch said. "If he decides to run, I'll be supporting him 110 percent."
His consideration about the race, and his consultation with his wife Vickie, came about "primarily because of the number of people all over the state that have urged me to do this," Risch said.
If he runs, it would be the third time that he faced Democrat Larry LaRocco. The former congressman announced on his own campaign Web site today that he's in it to win it in 2008.
"Too many Idahoans have no voice in Washington, and nobody is looking out for their interests," LaRocco said in a pre-recorded Webcast. "For far too long, our government in Idaho has not been accountable to Idaho."
LaRocco, who announced his candidacy earlier this month, lost to Risch in the race for lieutenant governor in 2006.