A subdued House Speaker Lawerence Denney said after a 45-minute closed GOP caucus today that he apologized to the caucus for his handling of the attempted ouster of GOP redistricting Commissioner Dolores Crow. “Most of the comments were very, very supportive,” Denney said. He said he gave “kind of a statement as to what happened and what went on,” lasting two to three minutes, then took questions from caucus members. Then, he said, “We talked about two or three other things that kinda came up in the course of that.” There was no decision to make any changes in the caucus or leadership, Denney said; other members backed that up, calling the party gathering “congenial,” though lawmakers gathered in clumps in the hallways afterward, clearly still airing some concerns.
Rep. Bob Schaefer, R-Nampa, didn't attend the caucus, citing a schedule conflict. He said, “The speaker has not shown a great deal of deference toward some of us,” and added, “I imagined it was going to be some sort of apology.” Said Schaefer, “Obviously it was not the way to handle things, or it wouldn't have come to this.”
Denney said, “I think, to quote Timon in the Lion King, it doesn't matter - it's in the past. I think the redistricting is over, and I've got the final plan on my desk and I don't think it's going to be challenged, so I think the issue is done.”
Asked about a joint statement he and GOP Chairman Norm Semanko sent out last Friday, saying they're continuing to explore legal options, Denney said, “With the plan, yes, it's ended.”
The speaker said, “Well, you know, we learn from all of our actions.” He said he thinks some changes should be made in the redistricting process “at some point in the future,” saying, “Certainly, the court's decision on county splits really tightens it down so tight that the commission can't even look at communities of interest. What community of interest is there between Sagle and Riggins?” He said he'd ask the same question about Emmett and Salmon or Challis.
“If we had it to do over, we may do it differently, but really, no regrets,” Denney said. “It's a learning process.”