One step closer to making history, first Native American woman running for governor wins Idaho’s Democratic Primary

As of Tuesday having secured the Democratic nominee for the Governor of Idaho, Paulette Jordan, 38, is one step closer to making history in her quest to become the United States’ first Native American governor. 

The two-term state lawmaker of the Coeur d’ Alene tribe defeated previous 2014 nominee A.J. Balukoff by 18 points, with 58.5 percent of the vote. 

Idaho’s rapid 2.2 percent population growth in one year, an unemployment rate below the national average in conjunction with a low cost of living, Idaho’s next governor will no doubt make an impact on the state. The fast-growing tech sector has resulted in new residents that is expected to continue.  

Jordan’s progressive platform in such a conservative state, often referred to as a one-party state;  holds a conservative perspective on gun control, supports the decriminalization of marijuana possession, the legalization of medical marijuana, medicaid expansion and clean energy. Jordan is also personally pro-life, while supporting abortion politically. She has big plans for education as well; universal preschool, increased teacher pay and affordable higher education. 

“People just aren’t used to thinking that a woman of color, or a woman period, can win,” she told interviewers. “Even people in the Democratic Party, they aren’t used to envisioning a woman at the top. Yet there are Republican women who know we can get there. There are progressive women in our state who know we can get there. Being young and vibrant and fresh, that plays into a new, bold vision and strong leadership.”

In recent weeks Jordan has won endorsements from Planned Parenthood, People for the American Way, Democracy for America, Indivisible and People for Bernie Sanders. 

Raised in a family of farmers and ranchers she resides in Plummer, Idaho, population 1,017 and  speaks about her ranching roots in a way that resonates with rural voters. “It’s more than just the process of ranching and being part of the ag community. It’s what it means to be a rancher or an agriculturalist,” says Jordan. “It’s sustainability. It’s defending your family and your way of life. When I talk about protecting my future generations, that resonates. When I talk about protecting the land, that resonates.”

In Tuesday’s gubernatorial primary, Jordan won the vast majority of Idaho counties—including several rural counties that she took with over 70 percent of the vote.

"I come from a powerful line of women. I'm proud of that heritage and legacy," Jordan said. "The opportunity for women is now. The President is divisive. Women know we can bring the country together. I'm working to defend my state, my people, even as this President is part of spreading hate and fear."

Jordan announced that she and Kristin Collum, who is running for Lt. Governor would be a joint ticket in early May. She will face Republican Lt. Gov. Brad Little in the November election. Idaho hasn’t selected a Democrat for Governor since 1990.