Trump Endorses Rival of Idaho Governor in State He Won with 64 Percent of the Vote

Republican Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin has been endorsed Tuesday by former President Donald Trump in the 2022 Idaho race for governor.

In the 2020 presidential election, Trump won Idaho with nearly 64 percent of the vote. Trump stated that McGeachin has supported him from the beginning and will fight for gun rights, American manufacturing, strong borders, school choice, and farmers, reported by The Associated Press.

The endorsement stated: "She will make a fantastic Governor, and will never let you down!"

McGeachin tweeted: "It is a great honor to receive the endorsement of the greatest President of our lifetime. President Trump is a true fighter for America and I am a true fighter for Idaho." She also changed her Twitter profile picture to an image of her and Trump standing next to each other giving a thumbs-up sign.

There are 14 active gubernatorial candidates listed at the Idaho secretary of state's office. Of these 14, eight are Republicans and two are Democrats. The Republican primary is in mid-May.

Idaho's incumbent Republican governor, Brad Little, has yet to announce his reelection plans but has been fundraising and is expected to run. The governor and lieutenant governor do not run on the same ticket in Idaho.

McGeachin's and Little's relationship has declined in recent months. Their relationship deteriorated after McGeachin issued an executive order relating to the coronavirus pandemic, and searched how to activate the Idaho National Guard to send troops to the U.S.-Mexico border as acting governor while Little was out of state.

Little reversed all of her executive orders, as well as one that banned mask mandates. He stated those decisions should be made by local officials. Little has also stopped telling McGeachin when he leaves the state, possibly opening up a legal battle of how the Idaho Constitution should interpret the matter.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Donald Trump, Janice McGeachin, Endorsement
Republican Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin addresses a rally on the Statehouse steps in Boise, Idaho, on Sept. 15, 2021, in this file photo. Former President Donald Trump has endorsed McGeachin over incumbent Republican Gov. Brad Little in the 2022 race for governor. Keith Ridler/AP Photo

"As Governor, I have worked effectively with Idahoans to make Idaho the least regulated state in the country and maintain the strongest economy," Little said in a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday in response to Trump's endorsement of McGeachin. "We're pushing back on Biden's vaccine mandates and unprecedented government overreach while banning vaccine passports here in Idaho."

Idaho currently has a $1 billion budget surplus and an unemployment rate at pre-pandemic levels, something Little has attributed in part to his cutting regulations that, according to George Mason University, has made Idaho the least-regulated state in the nation. Little in the statement also touted signing earlier this year of one of the largest tax cuts in Idaho's history.

Little's statement didn't include any negative comments about Trump, a one-term president who continues to have significant influence over the Republican Party.

Little last week tweeted a photo of him being recognized by Trump at a gala for the America First Policy Institute, a Trump-aligned nonprofit.

"We also have Gov. Brad Little, who is a terrific gentleman," Trump said in a recorded video of the speech viewed by the AP.

Janice McGeachin, Donald Trump, Idaho, Governor
Idaho Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin speaks during a mask burning event at the Idaho Statehouse on March 6, 2021 in Boise, Idaho. Former President Donald Trump has endorsed McGeachin in the 2022 race for governor in Idaho. Nathan Howard/Getty Images