Crowd of 100 at Idaho Capitol came to support McGeachin for governor

McGeachin is potentially the seventh candidate for governor, according to Secretary of State Office records

A crowd of about 100 supporters gathers in front of the Idaho Capitol building for Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin's remarks on her upcoming gubernatorial campaign (Kelcie Moseley-Morris/Idaho Capital Sun)

To a crowd of more than 100 enthusiastic supporters waving flags in front of the Idaho Capitol, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin focused on a message about the state response to the COVID-19 pandemic, individual rights and state sovereignty against the federal government. 

It was her second announcement of the day that she is running for governor in the May 2022 GOP primary, with the first announcement delivered Wednesday morning in Idaho Falls. 

“Idahoans have witnessed serious egregious violations over this past year,” McGeachin said. “Fortunately many of us are aware of what should have happened differently. We have also witnessed repeated rejections of opportunities to change course and to return to our constitutional republican form of government. … We cannot forget the decisions that were made, the damage that was done and the lessons we have learned from the last year.”

 McGeachin has garnered plenty of attention over the past year battling current Gov. Brad Little over state guidelines and restrictions during the pandemic. 

According to records filed with the Idaho Secretary of State’s office, McGeachin is potentially the sixth candidate in the Republican primary. Five other candidates have appointed campaign treasurers for governor, including Little, Lisa Marie of Eagle, Cody Usabel of Meridian, Jeff Cotton of Boise and Edward Humphreys of Eagle. A seventh candidate has appointed a treasurer, John Dionne of Boise, but he is unaffiliated.

Humphreys officially announced his campaign for governor in early May running on a platform of eliminating Idaho’s income tax, advocating for school choice and creating a government for the people.  

McGeachin has been in Idaho politics for more than 20 years

Janice McGeachin announcement
Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin announces her candidacy for governor during a campaign event May 19 2021 at the Idaho Statehouse. (Photo by Clark Corbin/Idaho Capital Sun)

McGeachin, 58, was elected to Idaho’s second-highest office in 2018 and is Idaho’s first female lieutenant governor. If she 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.

McGeachin was a member of the Idaho House of Representatives for District 32, the Idaho Falls area, from 2002 to 2012. During the 2011 and 2012 sessions, 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.

Her website outlined her support for gun rights, anti-abortion initiatives and deregulation for Idaho’s businesses. The announcement came the morning after the Idaho Capital Sun reported a website had been made with campaign pictures and videos. The website was taken down shortly after the Sun’s inquiry to the Lewiston-based information technology company listed on the website.

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin embraces Rep. Tammy Nichols, R-Middleton, before giving her remarks on Wednesday (Kelcie Moseley-Morris/Idaho Capital Sun).

She said she supports marriage between a man and a woman, as outlined by Idaho’s Constitution, despite the fact that gay marriage became legal by federal law in a U.S. Supreme Court case in 2015. She also said she supports apprenticeships and other career-readiness programs for Idaho students.

“In Idaho’s schools, we will teach our kids how to build, design, engineer, cook, serve, compute, barber, and work as police, firefighters, nurses, doctors, electricians, and plumbers,” she said. “When people earning $12-$15 per hour are taught skills that enable them to earn $20-$25 per hour, we greatly improve their opportunities. This is a win-win situation for both business and the individual.”

McGeachin announced in April she would form a task force to examine claims of 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.

She and the guest speakers who participated in the press conference expressed support for former President Donald Trump and his policies, including falsely stating the 2020 presidential election was rigged and stolen.

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.

Idaho Education Association reacts to announcement

Layne McInelly, president of the Idaho Education Association, said in a statement that McGeachin’s announcement should be “met with great distrust by all who support Idaho public schools, students and professional educators. She does not and will not prioritize policies that benefit public education. In fact, there is no ambiguity in her track record — she consistently attempts to undermine education funding and degrade our dedicated educators. Public education is the pathway to success and opportunity for children across our great state. McGeachin as governor would represent a huge step backward for Idaho students and public schools.”