Share story

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is endorsing Boise businessman Tommy Ahlquist in the race to become Idaho’s next governor in 2018.

Romney said Wednesday in a statement distributed by Ahlquist’s campaign that he’s backing Ahlquist because the political newcomer’s experience as a doctor and businessman has made him uniquely qualified for the top position.

Romney is considered a high-profile endorsement in Idaho — particularly in the eastern half of the state — because of his goodwill earned across the Rocky Mountain region from his role running the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and his prominence as a Mormon.

Ahlquist faces Republicans Lt. Gov. Brad Little and U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador in the Idaho GOP primary election in May.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has said he won’t seek a fourth term.