The bizarre power struggle between Idaho Governor Brad Little and Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin continued this week when McGeachin claimed Little broke the law by traveling to Florida for an event without appointing her as acting governor.
The state of Idaho requires the governor and lieutenant governor to run for office separately instead of on the same ticket like in most states and, despite both officials identifying as Republican, they rarely agree.
“Regardless of his reasons, he left the state of Idaho without a governor for multiple days in direct violation of the law,” the lieutenant governor wrote in a letter Friday to Alex Adams, head of the governor’s Division of Financial Management, also asking about the extra pay she was entitled to as acting governor, according to the Idaho Statesman.
The governor departed Idaho on Wednesday to attend the America First Policy Institute Gala in Florida, according to his spokesperson Marissa Morrison Hyer.
Last night it was an honor to be recognized by the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump. Together we were able to accomplish many great things! pic.twitter.com/Kk8aHoxrJD
— Brad Little (@GovernorLittle) November 5, 2021
A post on Little’s Twitter showed him being recognized by former President Trump at the gala.
McGeachin did not let up on the perceived slight, also sending out a press release to address the governor’s absence.
“Did the governor fail to notify my office because he didn’t want me to use my position as acting governor to once again give the power and decision making back to the people of Idaho? Regardless of his reasons, he left the state of Idaho without a Governor for multiple days in direct violation of the law,” the Lt. Gov. quipped.
The slight, however, should not have come as a surprise to McGeachin. On October 29, Gov. Little’s office sent her a letter stating that she would no longer be asked to step in as acting governor when he leaves the state, citing an analysis by the state attorney general’s office that found it unnecessary for Little to appoint an acting governor as long as he can do his job remotely.
The gala did not constitute an event that would prevent Little from his duties as governor, but he noted in a letter to McGeachin that “in the event [he is] ever unable to perform the official duties of governor as may be required due to disability, effective absence, or otherwise, rest assured that my staff will notify your office immediately,” according to the Statesman.
McGeachin has served as acting governor in the past, for a total of 288 hours since 2019, the Statesman reported.
In October of this year, the Lt. Governor went rogue while serving as acting governor for Little, who was in Texas. She decided to “fix” Little’s previous executive order on vaccine passports to ensure vaccines wouldn’t be required in educational institutions.
“Today, as Acting Governor, I fixed Gov. Little’s Executive Order on ‘vaccine passports’ to make sure that K-12 schools and universities cannot require vaccinations OR require mandatory testing. I will continue to fight for your individual Liberty!,” McGeachin tweeted alongside an image of the executive order.
Today, as Acting Governor, I fixed Gov. Little’s Executive Order on “vaccine passports” to make sure that K-12 schools and universities cannot require vaccinations OR require mandatory testing. I will continue to fight for your individual Liberty! #idpol pic.twitter.com/Jz87jfZaWc
— Janice McGeachin (@JaniceMcGeachin) October 5, 2021
Little’s prior order banned vaccine passports and proof of COVID-19 vaccination at any government facilities in the state.
The governor responded to McGeachin’s actions on Twitter, vowing to “rescind and reverse” any actions taken by the Lt. Governor when he returned.
I will be rescinding and reversing any actions taken by the Lt. Governor when I return. pic.twitter.com/iBuQqX1R5i
— Brad Little (@GovernorLittle) October 5, 2021
In the past, McGeachin has also tried to send Idaho National Guard troops to the U.S-Mexico border and ban mask mandates in the state– both of which were blocked or reversed.
Notably, Little never issued a statewide mask mandate, but he disagreed with taking away the choice from local health officials.
For its part, the Statesman’s editorial board validated Little’s decision not to inform McGeachin of his absence.
“Given her track record, who could blame him?” the newspaper asked adding, “Forgive us for not blaming Little for skipping town without telling McGeachin.”
McGeachin plans to run for governor next year, and Little is expected to seek re-election.
The Lt. Gov. couldn’t resist taking one more shot at Little on Twitter Friday, criticizing his attendance at the gala and calling it “interesting” that he “chose this week to suddenly voice his support” for former President Trump.
— Janice McGeachin (@JaniceMcGeachin) November 5, 2021
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