Woman running to become first Native American governor wins Dem primary

Woman running to become first Native American governor wins Dem primary
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Paulette Jordan won the Democratic nomination in Idaho’s gubernatorial race. If elected, she would become the first Native American governor in the United States.

Jordan, who has served as an Idaho state lawmaker for two terms, on Tuesday beat out former Boise school board member A.J. Balukoff in the state’s primary. Jordan had won 58 percent of the vote with 96 percent of the precinct in.

The 38-year-old lawmaker will now gear up to face Lt. Gov. Brad Little (R) in November. Little, who has been lieutenant governor since 2009, won Tuesday night’s Republican primary with 37 percent of the vote, defeating Rep. Raúl Labrador and real estate developer Tommy Ahlquist.

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Jordan is running as a pro-LGBTQ rights, pro-marijuana legalization, pro-Medicaid expansion Democrat in the deeply red state. The last time a Democratic governor was elected in Idaho was in 1990. 

Little, the heir apparent to Idaho’s Gov. Butch Otter (R), is pro-life, opposes same-sex marriage and does not support the expansion of Medicaid, but he also said he wouldn’t appeal a Medicaid expansion initiative should it be passed by voters on the November ballot.

According to a March poll by Idaho Politics Weekly, Jordan led the way with independents with 19 percent of them saying they liked Jordan best among all the candidates. Nine percent of the independents polled said they preferred Little, but that poll came before the field was narrowed to two on Tuesday night.