Oddballs

05.21.14

Who Voted For Idaho's Weirdo Candidates For Governor?

A week after one of the strangest debates in recent political history, Idaho voters cast their ballots in the GOP primary for governor and the oddball candidates did surprisingly well.

Last week, Idaho held a gubernatorial debate that featured two of the weirdest candidates to ever get invited on a debate stage. Harley Brown, a biker, veteran and former taxi driver who stood at the podium in a leather jacket and gloves, discussed how God called him to eventually be President while Walt Bayes, a long-bearded perenial candidate, simply read verses from the Bible. Their antics went viral on the Internet but did any Idaho Republican voters bother to cast their ballots for these two longshot candidates on Tuesday when they ran against incumbent Governor Butch Otter and ultra-conservative state senator Russell Fulcher?

Surprisingly, quite a few Idahoans did. The two wacky candidates combined for just over 5% of the vote with Brown pulling 3.3% and Bayes at 1.8%. The two "unnormal" candidates drew the most votes in Caribou County, population 6,963, where 1 in 8 voters in the Republican primary supported one of those two. Caribou wasn't the best county for either. Brown did best in Bear Lake County. In that rural county in the Gem State's southeast corner, the candidate who boasted a signed certificate from "a Masai prophet" that he would one day occupy the Oval Office got 8.64% of the vote. Bayes, who used his closing statement in the debate to talk about the End Times and Chernobyl, did best in Teton County where he obtained 3.61% of the vote.

Obviously, these weren't the results that either Brown or Bayes were hoping for. But, at least it gives future goofball candidates a roadmap in Idaho. If you're weird and running for office there, the best place to start seems to be Caribou County.