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Thu., Oct. 24, 2013, 10:36 a.m.

Denney apparently on stealth announcement tour of candidacy for Secty of State

In one of the weirdest launches of a statewide political campaign recently, former Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney apparently is going around the state announcing his candidacy for Secretary of State today - but he hasn't announced his appearances, informed the press or even posted anything on his campaign website, on which the info as of last night was so out of date it still said he's speaker of the House, a post he lost a year ago when he was ousted by current Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. Former state Rep. Janice McGeachin posted on her Facebook page yesterday that Denney would be announcing in Idaho Falls this morning, and now there are photos floating around on Twitter showing that he did so. Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, called the AP yesterday and said Denney would announce at the Capitol today at 12:30. He didn't return calls from Eye on Boise yesterday inquiring about the announcement schedule.

Denney has been mulling a challenge of GOP Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, who hasn't yet decided if he'll seek another term; the AP reports that several other GOP candidates also are considering the race. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.

Denney to announce Idaho secy of state run
By JOHN MILLER, Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Republican state Rep. Lawerence Denney is slated Thursday to announce his run for secretary of state, even as incumbent Ben Ysursa remains undecided whether to seek a fourth term.

Denney's announcement about his plans for next May's Republican primary election was due Thursday at an event at the Idaho Capitol in Boise.

Ysursa hasn't said if he'll take on Denney to become Idaho's top election regulator. The two had a 2012 dustup when Denney sought unsuccessfully to fire Republican members of the committee redrawing Idaho's election boundaries.

"I've been in agonizing internal deliberations for quite a while," Ysursa, 64, told The Associated Press on Thursday, adding he'd make an announcement "soon."

Denney, a former House speaker from Midvale who was ousted last year from that post by Rep. Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, didn't return calls Thursday.

Former state Rep. Janice McGeachin, R-Idaho Falls, announced Denney's run on her Facebook page, and said he'd have campaign stops in Idaho Falls.

Denney, a conservative wheat farmer with acreage in southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon, was among Republicans who successfully closed the GOP primary elections to all but registered party members starting in 2012. Ysursa went to court to try to block that effort, but lost.

Ysursa succeeded, however, in blocking a bid by Denney and then-Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semenko to fire GOP members of the redistricting committee in 2012 on grounds that the election map they helped draw ceded too much to minority Democrats and didn't sufficiently defend Republican interests.

If Ysursa doesn't run, Denney could have additional challengers in the GOP primary.

Among them, Phil McGrane, the chief deputy court clerk in Ada County, says he's considering campaigning — but only if Ysursa bows out.

McGrane, a 32-year-old Republican, is relatively unknown outside Ada County where he helps oversee elections. He says the secretary of state's office should be focused on "calling balls and strikes," not policy making.

McGrane said that Ysursa's leadership of the office since he assumed the post from the late Pete Cenarrusa in 2002 would be the model he'd seek to emulate, should he be elected.

"I'm a really big supporter of Ben," said McGrane, a lawyer and Ada County deputy clerk since 2005. "Both he and Pete have led that office and done an extraordinary job. To the extent I'm interested in the position, it's to carry that torch."

Others have expressed interest, too, including former state Sen. Mitch Toryanski, a Boise Republican.

Torianski, a former Idaho deputy attorney general, didn't immediately return a phone call Thursday seeking comment.

Democrats have yet to publicly announce prospective candidates for the 2014 election.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

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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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