Paulette Jordan

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Paulette Jordan
Member of the Idaho House of Representatives
from the 5th district
Seat A
In office
December 1, 2014 – February 14, 2018
Preceded byCindy Agidius
Succeeded byBill Goesling
Personal details
Born (1979-12-07) December 7, 1979 (age 40)
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationUniversity of Washington (BA)

Paulette Jordan (born December 7, 1979)[1] is a Native American politician who served in the Idaho House of Representatives as a member of the Idaho Democratic Party from December 1, 2014 until February 14, 2018.[2][3][4] She previously served on the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Council, its sovereign government. During her final term she was the only Democrat serving in the Idaho Legislature from North Idaho. She was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Idaho in the 2018 election against Lieutenant Governor Brad Little. On February 7, 2020, she announced a run for the United States Senate against incumbent Senator Jim Risch.[5]

Early life, education and career[edit]

Paulette Jordan was born into a ranching and farming family in northern Idaho, where she still holds timber and farmland.[6] She is an enrolled citizen of the Coeur d'Alene tribe, which is based on the reservation of the same name. She also has Sinkiuse (known as the Moses–Columbia Band of the Colville Confederacy), Nez Perce, and YakamaPalus ancestry.[7] She is a descendant of the 19th century chiefs Moses and Kamiakin, and 20th century Colville leader Lucy Friedlander Covington.[8][9][10]

Jordan attended Gonzaga Preparatory School. She was offered a scholarship to play college basketball at Washington State University but instead accepted an academic scholarship to the University of Washington.[8] While in Seattle, she held a variety of leadership roles in community activism and became involved in local city politics, also serving as an Advisor to the President of the University.[11]

After returning to the reservation, Jordan ran for and was elected to the Tribal Council. From this position, she became the co-chair of gaming for the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI), an organization founded in 1953 so that tribes could act in concert on mutual interests.[7] In 1969, ATNI passed a resolution honoring Jordan's great-aunt Lucy Covington for her work opposing termination of the Colville Tribe. Jordan's engagement as a Native leader extends beyond the region to include national organizations. She is a Senior Executive Board representative, Finance Chair and Energy Initiative Chair for the National Indian Gaming Association, serving her third consecutive term.[11]

Jordan spent her childhood learning lessons about farm life and about political leadership from her family and her communities. This experience laid the foundation of her commitment to be a servant-leader.

Idaho House of Representatives[edit]

When legislator Tom Trail of Moscow decided to seek a seat on the Latah County Commission after redistricting in 2012, Jordan became a candidate for the legislature. In the general election, she was defeated by Republican Cindy Agidius, of Moscow, with a margin of under 1%.[12] In 2014 she ran again for the same seat and defeated Agidius in the general election.[13] She ran for reelection in 2016 and defeated Carl Berglund, of Kendrick.[14]

Jordan served on the Business Committee, the Energy, Environment and Technology Committee, and State Affairs Committee from 2015-2018. In addition, Jordan was selected to serve on Legislative Council, which oversees management of the Capitol and permanent staff.[7]

Gubernatorial campaign[edit]

Jordan was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Idaho in the 2018 election, her main opponent in the general election was the Republican nominee and incumbent Lieutenant Governor, Brad Little.[15]

Jordan announced her candidacy on December 7, 2017.[16][17] In the primary she faced[18] previous 2014 nominee A.J. Balukoff and Peter Dill in what was the most competitive Democratic primary since 1998.[19] Eschewing corporate donations, she received most of her funding from Native American tribes.[20]

Jordan describes herself as "very progressive," supporting Medicaid expansion[21] and clean energy. Jordan is personally pro-life, but says she supports abortion politically. She differed from her fellow Democratic opponent A.J. Balukoff in their April 22, 2018 televised debate primarily in her support for the decriminalizing of marijuana possession and the legalization of medical marijuana (cannabidiol). In early May it was announced that she and Kristin Collum, running for Lt. Governor, were a de facto joint ticket,[22] and she received the endorsement of the Idaho Statesman in a split decision.[23]

The Nation called Jordan the new face of rural politics in America, given the populist and progressive history of Idaho,[24] and the split Democratic party establishment united behind her[25] after the state's most competitive Democratic primary in decades.[26]

In June 2018, Jordan remarked at the Idaho Democratic Party convention at College of Idaho in Caldwell that "We have begun the progressive movement across the country that people are believing in... The precipice of this movement begins in Idaho."[27] In August 2018 the New York Times named her as one of four candidates who could become the first female governors of their states.[28]

In August 2018 according to a poll her opponent's lead was at 8%, with Medicaid expansion being a significant issue.[29] The statewide collapse of the Division of Motor Vehicles's information technology on the vendor side became a significant issue in September, with Jordan calling the $10.8M contract a "... boondoggle that is failing our state." Otter said that fixing the driver's license system was one of the state's highest priorities.[30][31]

Jordan received significant national attention, with just under half of her donations coming from outside of Idaho.[32] She received an endorsement from the singer, Cher.[33]

She eventually lost to Little by more than 21 percentage points.[34]

Electoral history[edit]

District 5 House Seat A - Latah and Benewah Counties
Year Candidate Votes Pct Candidate Votes Pct
2012 Primary[35] Paulette Jordan 891 68.5% James Stivers 410 31.5%
2012 General[12] Paulette Jordan 9,960 49.7% Cindy Agidius 10,083 50.3%
2014 Primary[36] Paulette Jordan 1,377 100%
2014 General[13] Paulette Jordan 7,371 51.8 % Cindy Agidius (incumbent) 6,847 48.2 %
2016 Primary[37] Paulette Jordan (incumbent) 1,444 100%
2016 General[14] Paulette Jordan (incumbent) 11,179 50.7% Carl Berglund 10,889 49.3%
Idaho gubernatorial election, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Brad Little 361,671 59.8
Democratic Paulette Jordan 231,065 38.2
Libertarian Bev "Angel" Boeck 6,557 1.1
Constitution Walter L. Bayes 5,791 1.0
Independent Lisa Marie (write-in) 92 0.0
Total votes


  1. ^ Caudell, Justus (December 7, 2017). "Colville descendent Paulette Jordan announces candidacy for Idaho governor". Tribal Tribune. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  2. ^ "Democratic lawmaker resigns to focus on governor's campaign". Associated Press. February 7, 2018. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  3. ^ Spence, William L. (February 10, 2018). "Lawmaker will bring in substitute while running for governor". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  4. ^ Spence, William L. (February 14, 2018). "Governor candidate may still resign her legislative seat". Idaho Statesman. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  5. ^ Bendery, Jennifer. "Idaho Democrat Paulette Jordan Is Running For Senate", HuffPost, February 7, 2020. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  6. ^ Petersen, Anne (2018-04-26). "Could Paulette Jordan Be The First Native American Governor? In Idaho, any Democrat running is a long shot. But Paulette Jordan — who, if elected, would become the first Native American to serve as a governor — doesn't mind the odds, and isn't heeding calls to let an older, white, established candidate take her place". Buzzfeed News. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
  7. ^ a b c Zotigh, Dennis (December 19, 2014). "Meet Native America: Paulette E. Jordan, Idaho House Representative". National Museum of the American Indian. Retrieved May 30, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Prentice, George (February 21, 2018). "Paulette Jordan's Historic Ride". Boise Weekly. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  9. ^ Cudahy, Claire (2018-06-04). "Native governor candidate Paulette Jordan: 'It's about time' for change". First Nations Focus. Retrieved 2018-08-19.
  10. ^ "Covington, Lucy Friedlander (1910-1982)". Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  11. ^ a b McNeel, Jack (October 29, 2012). "Paulette Jordan, Coeur d'Alene Seeking Office in Idaho Legislature, Speaks to ICTMN". Indian Country Media Network. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Ysursa, Ben. "November 6, 2012 General Election Results". Boise, Idaho: Secretary of State of Idaho. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Ysursa, Ben. "November 4, 2014 General Election Results: Legislative Totals". Boise, Idaho: Secretary of State of Idaho. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  14. ^ a b Denney, Lawerence. "Nov 8, 2016 General Election Results: Legislative Totals". Boise, Idaho: Secretary of State of Idaho. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  15. ^ "Report Declaration". Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  16. ^ Russell, Betsy Z. (December 7, 2017). "Rep. Paulette Jordan announces she'll run for governor as a Democrat". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  17. ^ Spence, William L. (December 11, 2017). "Democratic state Rep. Jordan announces run for Idaho governor". The Lewiston Tribune. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  18. ^ "Statewide Totals". Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  19. ^ Sewell, Cynthia (2018-05-10). "May primary gives Democrats the most choices for governor since 1998". Idaho Statesman. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
  20. ^ Sewell, Cynthia (2018-08-19). "Why Paulette Jordan says she can bust Idaho's Republican stronghold". Idaho Statesman. Retrieved 2018-08-19.
  21. ^ Brown, Nathan (2018-09-09). "Paulette Jordan brings populist message to Idaho Falls". Idaho State Journal. Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  22. ^ CYNTHIA, CYNTHIA (2018-05-08). "These women are now running to be Idaho's governor, lt. governor as a joint ticket". Idaho Statesman. Retrieved 2018-05-09.
  23. ^ n/a, n/a (2018-05-11). "Democratic primary: Jordan offers Idaho voters a new face, new approach for governor". Idaho Statesman. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
  24. ^ Nichols, John (2018-05-16). "Paulette Jordan Is the New Face of Rural Politics in America". The Nation. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  25. ^ La Ganga, Maria (2018-05-15). "Paulette Jordan claims Democratic victory: 'We won this race by everyone.'". Idaho Statesman. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  26. ^ Sewell, Cynthia (2018-05-16). "Paulette Jordan is Idaho's new political force; Brad Little is its steady, guiding one". Idaho Statesman. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  27. ^ Russell, Betsy (2018-06-30). "Kander to Dems: 'The blue wave is not a weather event, you've got to make it happen". Idaho Press. Retrieved 2018-06-30.
  28. ^ Lu, Denise. "These Women Could Shatter Glass Ceilings in Governors' Races". NYT. Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  29. ^ Bronson, Chris (2018-08-13). "Jordan edges closer to Little in gov. race, poll shows". Idaho Press. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  30. ^ Wood, Colin (2018-09-04). "DMV service outages in Idaho shaping up as major issue in November election The governor says fixing the driver's license system is one of the state's highest priorities". statescoop. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  31. ^ Russell, Betsy (2018-09-02). "Jordan calls DMV contract a 'boondoggle,' Little is 'frustrated'". The Spokesman Review. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  32. ^ Sewell, Cynthia (2018-11-07). "Brad Little becomes Idaho's next governor". The Idaho Statesman. Retrieved 2018-11-10.
  33. ^
  34. ^ Walters, Daniel (2018-11-07). "Did all those national Paulette Jordan profiles only help her get clobbered in the Idaho governor race?". Inlander. Retrieved 2018-12-02.
  35. ^ Ysursa, Ben. "May 15, 2012 Primary Election Results". Boise, Idaho: Secretary of State of Idaho. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  36. ^ Ysursa, Ben. "May 20, 2014 General Election Results". Boise, Idaho: Secretary of State of Idaho. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  37. ^ Denney, Lawerence. "May 17, 2016 Primary Election Results: Legislative Totals". Boise, Idaho: Secretary of State of Idaho. Retrieved January 10, 2017.

External links[edit]

Media related to Paulette Jordan at Wikimedia Commons

Party political offices
Preceded by
A. J. Balukoff
Democratic nominee for Governor of Idaho
Most recent