Paulette Jordan, a Native American politician from North Idaho, will run for governor in the Gem State in 2018. Jordan, a Democrat, announced her candidacy at her 38th birthday party in Moscow, Idaho, on Thursday.
Jordan is a member of the Coeur D’Alene tribe. She serving her second term as a state legislator. A graduate of the University of Washington, Jordan has been deeply involved in civic life over the years.
“When you are raised by Idaho, it’s a matter of giving back,” she said. “And I look down at the heart of it all and thought, ‘If I am raised by Idaho and I know Idaho and I suffer with Idaho,’ taking on the governorship would be the best way for me to impact people’s lives, the best way to serve and give back.”
Jordan joins a crowded race to succeed Idaho’s current governor, Republican Butch Otter, who will not seek reelection after three terms. Among the dozen other declared candidates, only two are women. Jordan will face businessman A.J. Balukoff in the Democratic primary.
The last Democrat to win a race for governor in the heavily Republican state was Cecil Andrus in 1990.
If elected, Jordan would be the first Native American governor of a U.S. state. She’d also be the first woman elected governor of Idaho.