Butch Otter was elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in 1972 and reelected in 1974. He finished third in a six-way GOP primary race for governor in 1978 and considered but decided against running for the 1st District seat in Congress in 1980 when then-U.S. Rep. Steve Symms _ a close personal friend _ ran for the U.S. Senate.
He was elected lieutenant governor in 1986, narrowly defeating then-state Treasurer Marjorie Ruth Moon.
He was reelected easily in 1990, 1994, 1998.
In 2000 won the congressional seat. Otter was elected to the House that year with 65 percent of the vote.
He was re-elected in 2002 with nearly 59 percent.