McGeachin campaign website, since taken down, says she’s running for governor

Lieutenant governor will make three public appearances Wednesday

Issues detailed on a “Janice for Governor” website that has since been taken down (Screenshot).

A website with campaign information and videos of Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, which was taken down Tuesday evening after the Idaho Capital Sun inquired about it, said the longtime Republican is running for governor in the GOP’s May 2022 primary.

If she runs and wins the primary, she’ll run in the Nov. 8, 2022, general election. 

McGeachin’s main campaign website posted a splash page on Monday with information about three press conferences to be held Wednesday across the state for an “important political announcement about the future of the state” — the first at 10 a.m. at the Downtown Event Center in Idaho Falls, the second at 2 p.m. on the steps of the Idaho State Capitol, and the last at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time at Candlelight Christian Fellowship in Coeur d’Alene.

McGeachin could not be reached for comment via phone or email.

The Idaho Capital Sun reached out to the Lewiston-based information technology company listed on the websites that advertised McGeachin as a candidate for Idaho governor.

The websites were taken down shortly after the Sun left a voicemail and email for the company’s owner, one-time Republican House candidate Daniel Santiago.

Santiago returned the call and said he couldn’t speak about current or potential clients without their authorization.

The websites listed the same mailing address and phone number as McGeachin’s prior campaign materials.

McGeachin supports small government, gun rights

McGeachin, 58, was elected to Idaho’s second-highest office in 2018 and is Idaho’s first female lieutenant governor. If she runs and wins the primary, McGeachin would be the first female candidate on the Republican ticket for Idaho governor, and if elected, she would be Idaho’s first female governor.

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin presides over the Senate at the Idaho Capitol on April 6, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

McGeachin was a member of the Idaho House of Representatives for District 32, the Idaho Falls area, from 2002 to 2012. During that time, she served as chairwoman of the House Health and Welfare Committee, where she voted for cuts to Medicaid funding and voted against a bill supporting the state’s health insurance exchange.

“I support allowing the free market to make health care affordable rather than allowing government to increase the costs through regulation and meddling,” said a blog post on the since taken down campaign website. “As chair of the Health and Welfare committee, I insisted that my committee be given the time to read the Affordable Care Act in full. I am dedicated to working toward solving this problem in a thoughtful and meaningful way, for all Idahoans.”

The website outlined her support for gun rights, anti-abortion initiatives and deregulation for Idaho’s businesses. She also supports reducing Idaho’s income and unemployment taxes and eliminating corporate income taxes.

“Idaho is not economically competitive with her neighbors because her income tax (6.95% is higher than 5 of 6 neighboring states) and sales tax (6% is higher than 4 of 6 neighboring states) rates are too high compared to the surrounding states,” the website stated. “Rapidly rising property taxes in recent years have only made the problem worse.”

McGeachin clashed with Gov. Little during pandemic

McGeachin is no stranger to controversy. 

In the early days of her tenure as lieutenant governor, McGeachin was criticized for posing for a picture with members of an anti-government militia group called the Real Three Percenters and posting it to her Facebook page.

In what was viewed as open rebellion against the governor, she has also been a vocal critic of Gov. Brad Little’s approach to handling the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year. She’s participated in rallies across the state against efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, such as stay-at-home orders, temporary business closures, encouraging people to wear masks and enabling remote learning at public schools. McGeachin also distributed a press release in April 2020 calling on the governor to reopen businesses by the end of the month, followed by a guest opinion in the Idaho Statesman criticizing the government’s response. She also attended a “Disobey Idaho” protest outside the Idaho Capitol.

Her actions appeared to cause a rift between the two — a contrast to the close relationship Little held with former Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter during his three terms as governor.

McGeachin also made national news with her appearance in a video produced by the Idaho Freedom Foundation in October claiming Little infringed on the liberties of Idahoans with the response to the pandemic, which the video said, “may or may not be occurring.” In the video, McGeachin sits in the driver’s seat of a truck while holding a Bible, then places a gun on top of it while talking about enjoying and defending life and liberty.  

Lieutenant governor sparred with legislators during session

During the 2021 legislative session, through a letter written by her attorney, McGeachin accused Senate Pro Tem Chuck Winder, R-Boise, of “political punishment and sexism” because she was not granted key card access to the Senate chamber.

McGeachin said Winder was retaliating against her after questions were raised by the Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee about a monthly contract her office holds with Parrish Miller, who works for the Idaho Freedom Foundation. The questions led to a back-and-forth between legislators who wanted to cut McGeachin’s budget and others who defended it.

Winder wrote back that McGeachin wasn’t being treated differently than her predecessor, Little, who also didn’t have access. He said he found the suggestion of sexism offensive.

McGeachin announced in April she would form a task force to examine indoctrination and the teaching of social justice subjects in schools, and solicited feedback from Idahoans on the issue. Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra and the outgoing president of the State Board of Education, Debbie Critchfield, said there have been no formal or widespread complaints about that issue in Idaho schools.


McGeachin’s Idaho Falls roots

McGeachin is a 1981 graduate of Skyline High School in Idaho Falls, and graduated with a degree in finance and accounting from the University of Arizona in 1985, according to the campaign website. 

She and her husband, Jim, have two children and own Idaho Transmission Warehouse, an automotive parts supplier store with locations in Boise and Idaho Falls. She also owns The Celt, a restaurant and Irish pub in downtown Idaho Falls. 

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Kelcie Moseley-Morris
Kelcie Moseley-Morris

Kelcie Moseley-Morris is an award-winning journalist who has covered many topics across Idaho since 2011. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Idaho and a master’s degree in public administration from Boise State University. Moseley-Morris started her journalism career at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, followed by the Lewiston Tribune and the Idaho Press.

Audrey Dutton
Audrey Dutton

Audrey Dutton was a senior investigative reporter with the Idaho Capital Sun after 10 years at the Idaho Statesman. Her favorite topics to cover included health care, business, consumer protection issues and white collar crime. Before coming home to Idaho, Dutton worked as a journalist in Minnesota, New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Dutton's work has earned dozens of state, regional and national awards for investigative reporting, health care and business reporting, data visualization and more.

Christina Lords
Christina Lords

Christina Lords is the editor-in-chief of the Idaho Capital Sun and has been a professional journalist covering local and state government since graduating from the University of Idaho in 2009. A Pocatello native, Lords is a fifth-generation Idahoan who served as a reporter at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News and the Post Register in Idaho Falls and served as assistant editor for the Idaho Press in Nampa. She also led the Idaho Statesman in Boise for two years before turning to nonprofit journalism.