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Eye On Boise

Fri., July 13, 2012, 9:43 a.m.

Roiling House GOP leadership battle muddied further by Roberts departure

When current House Majority Caucus Chairman Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, leaves the House and instead becomes a state tax commissioner on Monday, he'll leave behind what's shaping up to be a battle for leadership in the House GOP caucus. Late yesterday, Roberts acknowledged that he had planned to run against current House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, for the No. 2 position in House leadership, up from his current No. 4 post; Moyle worked unsuccessfully to defeat Roberts in the May GOP primary.

"I know that it's a fluid situation, and there's been a lot of phone calls made even today about who's going to run for what," Roberts told Eye on Boise. "I have great confidence the House majority caucus will elect individuals to leadership that they can trust." Asked what he meant by the "trust" comment, Roberts said, "You can take it at face value."

House Speaker Lawerence Denney, who funneled leadership PAC funds into a series of interconnected PACS that then tried to defeat several GOP incumbents in the primary, including Roberts, is facing a likely challenge from the majority's No. 3 leader, Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. "I'm going to leave that alone," Roberts said. "The new caucus members that'll be elected in November, I'll let them make that decision." He said, "There's four elective leadership jobs that come up every two years. I'm sure there will be some people that will run that have not run before, and I think there'll be some people that will run that have run before. A lot of things will happen and change between now and the first week in December." That's when the Legislature will convene its organizational session and the new leaders will be chosen.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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