Butch Otter

From OpenCongress Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search

Clement Leroy "Butch" Otter was a Republican politician from Idaho. He is a former lieutenant governor of Idaho (1987-2001) and represented the state's 1st Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2007. He declined to run for reelection in 2006, choosing instead to pursue the governorship of Idaho.




Otter was born May 3, 1942 in Caldwell, Idaho. Otter earned his Bachelor of Arts in political science from the College of Idaho (now known as Albertson College of Idaho) in 1967. He served the Idaho Army National Guard's 116th Armored Cavalry from 1968 to 1973. He received specialized training at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Otter's business experience includes spending 30 years with Simplot International, a potato, livestock and feeding operation. He eventually rose to that company's presidency.

Otter's first bid for elective office was in 1972 when he was elected a member of the Idaho State House of Representatives from Canyon County. He returned to private life in 1977. Otter remained active in the Idaho Republican Party, holding several state and county positions.

In 1986, Otter returned to politics and was elected lieutenant governor of Idaho. He was re-elected in 1990, 1994 and 1998. He served under three different governors, Democrat Cecil Andrus, and Republicans Phil Batt and Dirk Kempthorne. In 1991, when the Idaho Senate was evenly divided between 21 Republicans and 21 Democrats, Otter's tie-breaking votes kept the body under Republican control. Otter left the post midway through his fourth term in 2001 to take his congressional seat. He is the longest-serving lieutenant governor in Idaho history.

Otter will not be a candidate for re-election in 2006, instead running for governor of Idaho.

Congressional Career

First District Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth-Hage had promised to serve only three terms in the House when first elected in the Republican wave of 1994, and kept that pledge in 2000 even after calling term limits "bad policy." Otter handily won the Republican primary, capitalizing on his name recognition as lieutenant governor. He breezed to victory in the November general election. He was re-elected in 2002 and 2004 with no substantive Democratic opposition.

In Congress, Otter was largely conservative with a slight libertarian streak, as reflected in his opposition to the Patriot Act. He was one of three Republicans (along with Bob Ney of Ohio and Ron Paul of Texas) to vote against the act in 2001. He was also very critical of the Bush Administration's domestic spying efforts. He served as a deputy majority whip for most of his time in Congress despite his opposition to many key Bush Administration policies.

Iraq War

Otter voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[1]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

2006 Election

On December 15, 2004, Otter announced his candidacy for the open gubernatoral seat in 2006. Although Otter drew some opposition in the Republican primary, he was widely considered to be a heavy favorite in both the primary and general election. He won both to become Idaho's governor.

[Republican Party|Republicans]] nominated William T. Sali and Democrats nominated Larry L. Grant to contest the November 2006 election for his vacant seat. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [1]

Meet the Cash Constituents

Links to more campaign contribution information for Butch Otter
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org site.
Fundraising profile: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2008 election cycle Career totals



In 1992 Otter was pulled over on Interstate 84 near Meridian, Idaho for suspicion of driving under the influence. He claimed the arresting officer observed him swerving was he was reaching for his cowboy hat, which had been blown off by the wind in his open car.

Otter offered several excuses for failing the field sobriety test including: his stocking feet were stung by weeds and gravel, he had run eight miles and his knee hurt, he was hungry, and that he had soaked his chewing tobacco in Jack Daniels.

A jury convicted Otter in 1993. He was sentenced to 72 hours of community service and 16 hours at an alcohol treatment program. This incident allegedly forced Otter to abandon an anticipated run for governor in 1994 and instead seek re-election for lieutenant governor.

Source:Idaho Statesman story

Committees and Affiliations

Committees in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

Coalitions and Caucuses

  • Congressional Biotechnology Caucus
  • Congressioanl Immigration Reform Caucus
  • Horticulture Caucus
  • Liberty Caucus
  • National Guard & Reserve Components Congressional Members Organization
  • Nuclear Cleanup Caucus
  • Former Member, President's Task Force on International Private Enterprise
  • Republican Study Committee
  • U.S. Navy-Marine Caucus
  • Policy Chair, Western Caucus
  • Former Member, World Bank's Agricultural Advisory Committee

Boards and other Affiliations

  • Grand Slam Member, Ducks Unlimited, 1970-present
  • Member, Maple Grove State Grange, 1958-present
  • Member, National Cowboy Hall of Fame, 1991-1992
  • Member, American Legion
  • Member, Boise Chamber of Commerce
  • Chair, Canyon County Republican Party
  • Former Member, Center for International Private Enterprise
  • Idaho 4-H Million Dollar Club
  • Former Member, Idaho Assocaition of Commerce and Industry
  • Member, Idaho Cowboys Association
  • Member, Idaho International Trade Council
  • Former Member, Idaho Young President's Organization
  • Member, Maple Grove State Grange
  • Regional Advisory Board Member, Museum of the Rockies
  • Former Board Member, National Cowboy Hall of Fame
  • Member, National Rifle Association
  • Former Member, Northwest Food Producers
  • Former Member, Pacific Northwest Waterways Association
  • Lifetime Member, Safari Club International
  • Member, World Bank Agricultural Advisory Committee

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Butch Otter. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.

Articles and Resources

Local blogs and discussion sites


DC Office:
1711 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-6611
Fax: 202-225-3029
Web Email

District Office- Boise:
802 West Bannock, Suite 101
Boise, ID 83702
Phone: 208-336-9831
Fax: 208-336-9891

District Office- Coeur d'Alene:
610 West Hubbard, Suite 206
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
Phone: 208-667-0127
Fax: 208-667-0310

District Office- Lewiston:
111 Main Street, Suite 170
Lewiston, ID 83501
Phone: 208-298-0030
Fax: 208-298-0032

District Office- Nampa:
1307 Third Street, Suite E
Nampa, ID 83651
Phone: 208-466-4503
Fax: 208-466-6346