You might remember Jerry Brady from such elections as the 2002 Idaho gubernatorial race (he's the guy who walked away with 42 percent of the vote, even after Dirk Kempthorne called in the presidential cavalry ...). Before that he was a lawyer, a member of the Peace Corps and a legislative assistant to Senator Frank Church. He is currently publisher of the Idaho Falls Post Register, but in 2006, he's back on the ticket to champion Idaho's children, families and health.
BW: After many years doing humanitarian and political work, you ended up inheriting your father's newspaper business. How did you jump from that to running for governor?
JB: I had never thought of it. Being a newspaper publisher and running for governor seemed mutually exclusive, but I was drafted by former Gov. Cecil Andrus. He called me in February 2002 and said, "I have an idea; I want you to run for governor." I said, "You're crazy."
Weren't you afraid that your work as a journalist might give your opponents a little too much ammo?
I like to write; I have opinions and wanted to shape policy. I wrote nearly 500 editorials before 2002--all of which were on the Web during my campaign. You know who I am by the articles I've written, but I didn't write them thinking about running for office. I was swinging for the fences. I've written 92 columns since then. I put them on the Web site last time, and I stand by them.
Describe your platform.
The platform is important, but it's not why people vote for one person or another. Elections are a choice between two personalities--the way you communicate, what sort of person you are, the things you value. Swing voters are voting for the person, asking, "Can I trust you with the future? Will you make good decisions and be faithful, honest and principled?" That's an election--a choice between two people--and the issues are an illustration of what you care about.
What do you want to say to the voting public?
When all is said and done, I'm a traditional guy. I grew up here. If you look at the history of my life, I'm a person in the mainstream but I'm also an innovator who's pretty good at starting things that have never existed before. I'm curious; I read more than the average bear and bounce ideas off of people. I'm a good manager. This sounds like self-aggrandizing stuff, but you have to look at these things and ask, "Who will be the best for my children, my family, my health?"
Do you think you have a chance this time?
This is quite a different campaign. I started 19 months ahead instead of six months ahead. I will raise twice the money and run three times as long, and I have support this time because people outside the state feel Idaho is winnable. It will be a difficult election, and when I win, it will be an upset.