Eye On Boise

FRIDAY, OCT. 21, 2011, 1:10 P.M.

The A’s and B’s of it…

Under Idaho's new legislative district plan, there are six House districts that contain three current incumbents, plus one that contains five. Each district has two House seats. So that means in the three-incumbent districts, two will have to face off if all want to stay in office - but which two? I posed that question to Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, and he said, "It's totally up to them, totally how they file." He noted, "There's a Seat A, Seat B right now designation that they're quote unquote in, but they don't have to file for their same alphabetical designation or anything. It's up to them."

That's sometimes led to last-minute drama after past redistrictings, as various candidates try to wait to see which designation the other candidates choose so they can decide who to challenge. Others file early, staking a claim to an A or B seat and letting whoever wants to challenge them make the choice. "It'll make for some interesting, we don't want to call it musical chairs, but the music will stop at 5 p.m. on March 9th," Ysursa said. "It's part of the declaration of candidacy that says Position A or B. So that's where the proof will be in the pudding."

There have been cases where a candidate's filed for one seat, then withdrawn. But to try switch to the other seat requires a whole new refiling, including a new fee payment. "We don't necessarily want to speculate on 5 p.m. and people coming in and out," Ysursa said. "I'm not saying it's never come up before, it has. People like to play games and withdraw and refile." He noted ruefully of Idaho's fee for legislative candidate filings, "$30 is hardly a deterrent."

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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