BOISE -- Former Canyon County Prosecutor John Bujak has filed papers with the Idaho Secretary of State's Office to run as a candidate for Idaho governor.
Bujak expressed public interest in running in the 2014 election months ago, but he tells KTVB he's been considering running for governor since he was prosecutor. He is running as a Libertarian candidate.
"This is a unique situation here in Idaho. They need to put somebody different in office, somebody who can bring real change and get away from this 'good old boy' mentality," Bujak told KTVB. "Sometimes the voice of hope and real hope for people comes in forms of strange heros, and I think I can be that person because of my experience in what I've seen, because of the skill sets I bring to the job."
In 2010, Bujak resigned as prosecutor amidst allegations he was illegally diverting public funds for personal use. A jury found him not guilty of the misuse of public money charge. On a related case, Bujak did plead guilty to a contempt of court charge last summer.
This year, a federal jury indicted Bujak on charges of bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets, making a false statement under oath, money laundering and obstruction of justice. He has pleaded not guilty and is set to go to trial in May.
Bujak told KTVB the federal indictment makes running for governor more difficult, but he says the timing of his scheduled federal trial will work with his political schedule.
"Of course, that complicates things a bit. I filed as a Libertarian candidate, so Libertarian candidates in Idaho don't have a primary, so there won't be that interference with the federal trial in May and the primaries also being in May, that won't be an issue," Bujak said. "But then with the general election coming up in November, the trial and the outcome of that case is of course going to be a bifurcation point. If I prevail in that trial, I can continue on and continue campaigning into November. If something were to go against me in the trial, then of course I would have to drop out as a candidate."
As a big part of his platform, Bujak claims he was a victim of a "good old boy" network in Canyon County and says his goal in running is to disrupt the network.
"You can't keep electing the same type of people and expect to get a different result. And until that dynamic changes, the 99 percent of people who aren't part of that good old boys club are never going to have a real voice in government," Bujak said.
In running, Bujak acknowledges he is a controversial figure, but he says is running to win.
"I have been controversial, I think, since the first moment I stepped foot on the political scene. People either really like me, or they really don't like me. If you mention my name, very few people say 'I don't care' or they have a very mediocre response. That doesn't happen. They're going to be polarized on one spectrum or the other," Bujak said. "So I have a unique set of skills. I may not be liked, but this isn't a job where you're going to go in and try to win a popularity contest. There's tough decisions that have to be made if Idaho's going to be better, and it's going to make some people upset. And it's going to make those currently in power, these good ol' boys, very upset. "
Bujak says he does not anticipate getting endorsements from traditional candidates or funding from traditional sources. He says his campaign will be "grassroots".
As of Thursday afternoon, eight candidates had filed to run for governor. The deadline to file is Friday.
Other candidates are: Democrat A.J. Balukoff, Republican Harley Brown, Republican Russ Fulcher, Independent Jill Humble, Democrat Terry Kerr, Republican (Incumbent) C.L. Butch Otter, and Constitution Party candidate Steve Pankey.