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Weird Political Maneuvering Is Happening in Idaho

When the cat's away...
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2021 11:15 AM CDT
Weird Political Maneuvering Is Happening in Idaho
In this May 19, 2021, file photo, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin announces her run for Idaho governor in Idaho Falls, Idaho.   (John Roark/The Idaho Post Register via AP, File)

(Newser) – Idaho Gov. Brad Little left the state on Tuesday, and Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin took full advantage of that fact. With Little in Texas meeting with other Republican governors about border issues, McGeachin—who serves as acting governor in Little's absence and is running for governor herself—issued an executive order involving COVID-19 vaccines. Little was not having it.

  • McGeachin, a far-right Republican, tweeted Tuesday that she "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!"
  • The Idaho Statesman reports it builds on a similar order Little issued in April; his extended to state facilities but not K-12 public schools and didn't include language about testing.

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  • The Daily Beast reports Little responded less than 10 minutes after McGeachin's tweet. "I am in Texas performing my duties as the duly elected Governor of Idaho, and I have not authorized the Lt. Governor to act on my behalf," the AP quotes him as saying in a statement issued just after arriving Tuesday in Texas. "I will be rescinding and reversing any actions taken by the Lt. Governor when I return."
  • McGeachin's move was also criticized by the state's Republican Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, who called it "a complete grandstand and abuse of her political office in an attempt to influence voters," per the Statesman. Bedke is running to take McGeachin's slot as lieutenant governor.
  • A more biting line from Republican Idaho state Rep. Greg Chaney to McGeachin: "How stupid can you be?"
  • The AP reports McGeachin also asked Maj. Gen. Michael Garshak, who's head of the state's National Guard, about activating the National Guard and sending troops to the border; that request was shot down. Her letter to Garshak read, in part, "my constitutional authority as Governor affords me the power of activating the Idaho National Guard. As the Adjutant General, I am requesting information from you on the steps needed" to do so.
  • McGeachin has done this once before, when Little was out of state in May. At that time, she issued an executive order banning mask mandates. Little did away with it when he returned, saying local officials are best suited to decide on mask mandates.
  • Per the AP, Little is set to be back in Idaho Wednesday night.
(Read more Idaho stories.)

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