Note: This is part 4 of a five-installment series of interviews with Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna.
There has been speculation this year that Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna is planning a run for governor in 2014.
Luna isn’t buying any of what they are selling.
He also says he hasn’t talked to any of Republicans running for president about taking the education secretary post if President Barack Obama is defeated next year.
In March, Dan Popkey of the Idaho Statesman wrote that Luna could challenge Lt. Gov. Brad Little in the 2014 gubernatorial race, but Luna told IdahoReporter.com that he thinks Gov. Butch Otter will run for re-election that year. If Otter runs for re-election, Luna says he will again seek the state’s top education spot.
“The last conversation I had with the governor is that he is planning on running re-election,” Luna said. “And if he runs for re-election so am I.”
If Otter has difficulty with the decision to run, Luna says he will push him to seek re-election. “Whether it’s in public or behind closed doors, I will be encouraging him to run again,” Luna explained. “He’s given me no indication that he does not plan on running for re-election, so I just think it’s premature and really not appropriate for me to talk about what I would do if he didn’t run.”
The Coeur d'Alene Press reported Wednesday that Otter announced he plans to run again in 2014.
Luna didn’t hint his intentions if Otter changes his mind and decides not to run in 2014.
There have also been rumors that Luna could take a spot in a Republican presidential administration as the head of the education department if Obama loses next year. It wouldn’t be completely unfamiliar territory for him: He served as a senior advisor to education secretary Rod Paige in the George W. Bush administration from 2003 until 2005.
Luna denies that an appointment to the top job at the U.S. Department of Education might already be in the works if a Republican wins the White House next November.
“This political side of this life that we live, there’s always rumors and people think you know your future and what’s best for you politically more than you do,” Luna said. “I’ve been focused on education and I’m going to continue to be focused on education regardless of whether I’m going to be involved in elected office of not.”
Luna endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and donated $500 to his campaign on July 1. He is also a member of Romney’s Idaho steering committee alongside Otter, Congressman Mike Simpson, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and a number of Gem State political figures.
Coming Friday: Luna says he explained education reforms prior to general election. Video for series by Mitch Coffman, IdahoReporter.com.
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- /wp-content/uploads/2011/02/LunaOtter-215.jpg, /wp-content/uploads/2011/02/LunaOtter-215.jpg
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- Luna says he hears Otter is planning on running for re-election in 2014, Luna says he hears Otter is planning on running for re-election in 2014