Phil Batt

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Phil Batt
Phil Batt 2010.jpg
Batt in 2010
29th Governor of Idaho
In office
January 2, 1995 – January 8, 1999
Lieutenant Butch Otter
Preceded by Cecil Andrus
Succeeded by Dirk Kempthorne
35th Lieutenant Governor of Idaho
In office
January 1, 1979 – January 3, 1983
Governor John Evans
Preceded by William Murphy
Succeeded by David Leroy
34th President pro tempore of the Idaho Senate
In office
December 1, 1976 – December 1, 1978
Preceded by James Ellsworth
Succeeded by Reed Budge
Member of the Idaho Senate
In office
Member of the Idaho House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born Philip Eugene Batt
(1927-03-04) March 4, 1927 (age 89)
Wilder, Idaho
Nationality United States
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Jacque Elaine Fallis Batt
Children 1 son, 2 daughters [1]
Residence Wilder
Alma mater University of Idaho
(2 years)
Profession Farmer, politician, musician
Religion Baptist
Military service
Service/branch U.S. Army
Years of service 1945–46
Unit Army Air Forces

Philip Eugene "Phil" Batt (born March 4, 1927) is an American politician with the Republican Party. He was the 29th Governor of Idaho, from 1995 to 1999.

Early years[edit]

Born in Wilder, Idaho, Batt was the fifth and youngest child of John and Elizabeth Karn Batt,[1] and grew up on the family farm near Wilder in southwestern Idaho. Though his paternal grandparents were Mormon missionary immigrants from England, Batt was raised a Baptist, as this was his mother's faith. Due to a shortage of students, he started first grade early (age 5.5), but later missed a fall semester in high school during World War II to help his aging father with the harvest and graduated mid-year during the 1944–45 school year.


Batt enlisted in the service on his 17th birthday in 1944; with a brother-in-law killed at Guadalcanal (and a brother who later lost an arm at Okinawa), he aimed to be a fighter pilot to avenge the damage to his family.

Still not eighteen, he briefly attended the University of Idaho in Moscow in north Idaho, then entered the Army Air Forces in 1945 and was in basic training during V-J Day in August.

With the war over, fighter pilots were not needed so Batt served sixteen months in Colorado at Lowry Field near Denver as a clerk, discharging veterans before being discharged himself. He then returned to the UI[2][3] and studied chemical engineering, lived in the dorms, and led a dance band, playing clarinet and tenor saxophone.[4] (Half a century later as governor, Batt played with Lionel Hampton in Moscow at the jazz legend's UI festival.)[5]

A year later in January 1948, he eloped with Jacque Fallis of Spokane,[6] a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority.[7] The newlyweds had to leave school a month later when Batt's 66-year-old father was involved in a serious automobile accident which left him with limited strength and speech. Though the young Batts initially hoped to return to college, economic circumstances changed their plans and they reluctantly did not.[8]

State offices[edit]

Before becoming governor, Batt had been a Republican politician in Idaho for thirty years, serving in the state legislature (house 1965–67, state senate 1967–79) and as the 35th lieutenant governor from 1979 to 1983.[9] He ran for governor in 1982 and was defeated in a close race by the Democratic incumbent, John Evans. The election was so close that at least one television network declared Batt the winner on Election Night.[10][11] Future U.S Senator and Governor Dirk Kempthorne served as his campaign manager.

Batt returned to the state senate with victories in 1984[12] and 1986, then resigned in the spring of 1988 to sit on the three-member state transportation board, appointed by Governor Andrus.[13] Batt was elected chairman of the Idaho Republican Party in January 1991,[14] and after a successful two years, he stepped aside in April 1993 to re-enter electoral politics in 1994.[15]


Batt won the Republican gubernatorial primary in 1994 with 48% of the vote, and defeated state attorney general Larry EchoHawk in the general election 52% to 44%,[16] for the first GOP victory for governor in 28 years.[17] Despite high popularity, he chose to serve only one term, citing his age, and left office at age 71.[18] Succeeding Batt, Kempthorne won two terms and Butch Otter three terms, giving the Republicans six consecutive wins through 2014.

Among Batt's more notable accomplishments as governor was pushing through worker's compensation for agricultural workers and negotiating a pact limiting nuclear waste storage in Idaho.[18] During his term, Idaho's cabinet had a higher percentage of women than any other state.

Idaho Gubernatorial Elections: Results 1982, 1994
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1982 John Evans (inc.) 165,365 50.6% Phil Batt 161,157 49.4%
1994 Larry Echo Hawk 191,362 45.2% Phil Batt 216,123 51.1% Ronald Rankin Independent 15,793 3.7%


Batt has self-published two books since leaving office, a memoir titled The Compleat Phil Batt: A Kaleidoscope (ISBN 0-9677135-5-2), in 1999, and a compilation of humorous stories, Life as a Geezer, in 2002. Batt, who has a gay grandson who lives out of state, supports Add The Words.[19]


  1. ^ a b Kuykendall, Martha. "Philip E. Batt". Martha's Extended Family. Retrieved March 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Freshmen". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1947. p. 111. 
  3. ^ "Sophomores". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1948. p. 135. 
  4. ^ Miller, Dean (June 13, 1994). "Batt jazzes up his campaign". Spokesman-Review. p. A6. 
  5. ^ White, Vera (March 2, 1998). "He's no Benny Goodman, but Benny wasn't governor". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. p. 1A. 
  6. ^ "Juniors". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1947. p. 96. 
  7. ^ "Delta Delta Delta". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1947. p. 300. 
  8. ^ The Compleat Phil Batt: A Kaleidoscope (ISBN 0-9677135-5-2), 1999, p. 3-16
  9. ^ "Idaho Governor Philip E. Batt". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  10. ^ Kennedy, John (November 4, 1982). "Gov. Evans rejoices, Batt talks about quitting politics". Associated Press. p. 1C. 
  11. ^ "Phil Batt has seen close races before". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. December 18, 2000. p. 7A. 
  12. ^ "Election results". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. November 8, 1984. p. 7C. 
  13. ^ "Batt makes retirement official". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. February 26, 1988. p. 4B. 
  14. ^ "Idaho Republicans elect Phil Batt chairman". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. January 13, 1991. p. 1B. 
  15. ^ "Randy Smith is elected to succeed Phil Batt". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. April 23, 1993. p. 4C. 
  16. ^ "Election results". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. November 10, 1994. p. 8C. 
  17. ^ "Batt rescues Republican". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. November 10, 1994. p. 1C. 
  18. ^ a b "Batt says Republicans shouldn't let guard down". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Associated Press. September 18, 1997. p. 3B. 
  19. ^

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
William J. Murphy
Lieutenant Governor of Idaho
January 1, 1979 – January 3, 1983
Succeeded by
David H. Leroy
Preceded by
Cecil D. Andrus
Governor of Idaho
January 5, 1995 – January 4, 1999
Succeeded by
Dirk Kempthorne
Party political offices
Preceded by
Allan Larsen
Republican Party nominee, Governor of Idaho
1982 (lost)
Succeeded by
David H. Leroy
Preceded by
Roger Fairchild
Republican Party nominee, Governor of Idaho
1994 (won)
Succeeded by
Dirk Kempthorne