Idaho power broker could get top Romney job

May 20 2012 - 8:23am

BOISE -- Speculation that Idaho-raised Jack Gerard could land a top spot in a Mitt Romney administration isn't new.

Four years ago, legendary Idaho GOP Sen. Jim McClure said Gerard might have been Romney's chief of staff had he won the GOP nomination and beaten Barack Obama.

Raised in Mud Lake, Gerard worked on Capitol Hill for McClure, who died last year. After McClure retired in 1991, he and Gerard were partners in a lobbying firm with another former McClure staffer. Their clients included energy, mining, telecommunications and the 1994 Soccer World Cup. In an interview in 2008, McClure called Gerard "just an incredibly able fellow."

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, now holds the McClure seat and is Romney's Idaho campaign co-chairman. Risch said that Gerard's profile has grown in four years and that he's easily fit for a high-level job if Romney is elected.

"Gerard is a heckuva player in Washington, D.C.," Risch said. "He's well thought of, well connected, has incredible street cred. He's certainly got the qualifications to do any of that."

But Risch said that a modestly paid government job might not be all that attractive to a man who made $6.4 million in 2010 running the American Petroleum Institute.

"What everybody forgets is with all these prestigious things that happen to us, we are still individuals interested in providing for our families and our future," Risch said. "If you were in his position, would you do that?"

Gerard also worked for former GOP Congressman George Hansen in the 1980s, earning bachelor's and law degrees at night school. He told the Statesman in 2008 that growing up in rural Idaho shaped his views about balanced policy-making.

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