Moving forward

Cecil Andrus ran for office in 1990 — the last time a democratic politician won Idaho’s gubernatorial race.

Nearly 30 years later, Paulette Jordan — a democrat from northern Idaho — entered the race.

The two-term Idaho representative and member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe drew national attention as a young, female politician gaining ground in a long-standing conservative state.

Former Republican Lt. Gov. Brad Little took the governorship in the Tuesday midterms with 59 percent of the vote. Jordan received roughly 38 percent, according to unofficial results from the Idaho Secretary of State’s office.

While both Little and Jordan both grew up in rural Idaho, their platforms and campaigns were starkly different. Jordan claimed some national spotlight throughout her 11-month campaign with her views on Idaho’s largely conservative policies, including gun rights, Medicaid expansion and education.

Paulette Jordan | Courtesy

Jordan said she hopes these platforms won’t end with her loss this past election. Instead, Jordan said she believes the voters who came to the polls in droves will continue to stay involved in Idaho politics well past this election and into 2020.

“If this election shows us anything, it’s that people are waking up to their rights and not accepting the status quo,” Jordan said. “Young women are already saying they will run at the first opportunity. The movement is spreading.”

With a more local perspective, Moscow City Council member Gina Taruscio said she saw more voters in the Nov. 6 midterm than in the past at the Latah County Fairgrounds.

From that voter turnout, Taruscio said she hopes voting will turn into further political engagement.

“I hope that all of the women and men in elected positions will inspire more women to run. We need to continue to develop the future generation of leaders – regardless of gender,” Taruscio said.

After Jordan’s loss to Little, Taruscio said Jordan’s voters should look to what can be done moving forward with the new Republican governor.

“I think anyone disheartened by (Tuesday’s) election should find ways to work with the new administration — find some middle ground and move our state and our nation forward,” Taruscio said.

Jordan said she was glad to be part of a national movement in the last year. A record number of women and women of color took midterm seats nationally.

“Her courage in running showed many women in Idaho that they have a voice — it’s a movement she is a part of, and will continue,” Jordan’s media relations manager, Dana Ferris said.

Jordan’s next steps include rest and spending time with family, she said. Ferris said Jordan “is a warrior and will be heard from again.”

“I’m more inspired more than ever. People want to see change. That strong shift doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time,” Jordan said. “Women have stepped up. And young women need to empower themselves. It’s about them, it’s not about me. Speak the truth, support each other and fight for a path to a better Idaho.”

Hailey Stewart can be reached at or on Twitter @Hailey_ann97


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