Posts tagged: Idaho elections
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — A former Idaho legislator from Pocatello, Evan Frasure, is running as a Republican in the ever-more-crowded 2014 secretary of state primary. The Idaho State Journal (http://tinyurl.com/nvz2phw) reports Friday Frasure plans to make a formal announcement next week. Frasure says he believes it's the right time for somebody from eastern Idaho to fill the post. Already, two southwestern Idaho people have joined the GOP primary race: Rep. Lawerence Denney of Midvale, and deputy Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane. Frasure served 12 years in the Legislature until departing in 2002 to run for secretary of state against the eventual winner, Ben Ysursa. Ysursa is retiring after three terms. Frasure is a teacher and was a member of the redistricting committee in 2011 that failed to draw up new election boundaries for Idaho.
More than 85 supporters gathered to cheer chief deputy Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane this evening as he announced his candidacy for Idaho Secretary of State – and to sample free BBQ provided by a candidate who’s also a national BBQ champion. Among GOP notables in the crowd: Several elected county clerks from around the state; Ada County elected officials; former state Sen. Mary Hartung; state Sen. Fred Martin, R-Boise; and longtime Idaho GOP activist Phil Reberger, who said he sees “a lot of potential” in the 32-year-old candidate. McGrane is entering a potentially crowded race, with former state House Speaker Lawerence Denney already in the race and several others considering it.
Canyon County Clerk Chris Yamamoto, who’s also a GOP precinct chairman in his county, told the crowd, “Phil McGrane knows what we do, he knows how we do it, and Phil knows what we need.” Yamamoto said McGrane helped his neighboring county when it looked like it couldn’t get new precincts in place in time for a May primary after a late-stretching redistricting process, and he’s helped other counties in the state as well with sterling results. Twin Falls County Clerk Kristina Glascock gave McGrane similar kudos.
McGrane, an attorney and elections specialist, said, “Having worked for so many years to ensure that people have the right to vote, I have a deeply profound respect for institutions that are built upon this right. … I believe our party, or any party, is strongest when our success is based upon its principles and not when a select few try to bend the rules in their favor.” He pledged to “ensure the transparency and integrity of Idaho's government.”
Other candidates considering the race include former state Sen. Mitch Toryanski, R-Boise; current state Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene; and current state Rep. Holli High Woodings, D-Boise.
The personal wealth of Democratic candidate for governor A.J. Balukoff is vast, Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey reports this morning, and Balukoff has been very open about it, including his ability to at least partially self-fund his campaign; he has that in common with current Gov. Butch Otter, a multi-millionaire who in August forgave a $131,000 loan to his own campaign. Popkey reports that Balukoff’s net worth is between $40 million and $50 million; plus, his wife, Susie, one of four heirs to the Skagg’s drugstore fortune, has an inheritance worth $20 million. Popkey’s full report is online here.
Phil McGrane, chief deputy Ada County clerk, has scheduled his announcement for 5 p.m. tomorrow in the first-floor public hearing room at the Ada County Courthouse, 200 W. Front St., as he mulls a race for Idaho Secretary of State. What makes McGrane stand out in what’s shaping up to be a crowded GOP primary for the seat that will open when longtime Secretary of State Ben Ysursa retires: His campaign co-chairs are the county clerks of four Idaho counties, and his campaign committee includes five more county clerks from counties all around the state. Plus, he says the list is growing.
McGrane said county clerks and their deputies – like him – are very interested in seeing Idaho’s elections well-run, as they’re the ones who do the work on the ground in the counties. “When you look at the responsibilities of the Secretary of State’s office, elections are a major component, and a component I think the public cares the most about in the process,” McGrane said. He added, “Many of them reached out to me. We kind of have a united interest in this race.”
He doesn’t think it’s his campaign committee that differentiates him from the group of prospective candidates, however. “I think my experience running elections is what makes my candidacy stand out,” he said. “As far as the people that I’m aware of, I’m the only non-legislator among the group, but I’m also the only person who actually has had time actually running and administering Idaho’s election law.”
One more oddity: McGrane is a national award-winning competitive barbecuer, and a fellow competitor and caterer who runs Spuds BBQ will be providing free BBQ to those who attend McGrane’s announcement.
Others in the race: Former House Speaker Lawerence Denney announced his candidacy even before Ysursa withdrew his. Former state Sen. Mitch Toryanski, R-Boise, and current Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, are considering a run. And Rep. Holli High Woodings, D-Boise, told Eye on Boise on Friday that she, too, is considering the race. “It’s something I’ve been thinking about for years,” she said; Woodings said she’ll decide in “the next couple of weeks or so.” Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, considered the race earlier, but decided to seek another Senate term instead.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Democrats' choice to run for governor was listed as a Republican five years ago. In 2008, Anthony Joseph “A.J.” Balukoff was named as a Republican backer of then-U.S. House candidate Walt Minnick. Balukoff was among 60 “Republicans for Minnick” during the Democrat's successful run against Bill Sali. In an August 2008 e-mail from Minnick's campaign, Balukoff topped a group that had “supported the Republican Party with time, with money and with votes. And we will continue to do so in this election and in elections to come,” according to the message. Balukoff didn't return a call Friday. Larry Kenck, Idaho Democratic chairman, said he's discussed Balukoff's allegiances and is convinced he's a Democrat with an independent streak. Balukoff didn't choose a party in 2012's primary; he didn't vote.
Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller, which also notes Balukoff's contributions to both Democratic and Republican candidates and causes over the years.
Sure, Butch Otter is bringing in big GOP political star Chris Christie for a fundraiser tonight at the Coeur d'Alene Resort, but former House Speaker Lawerence Denney has stars of his own headed to Idaho for a fundraiser for his campaign for Secretary of State: The main characters from the popular “Duck Dynasty” reality show on A&E, who'll talk family values in a stadium show in March and visit with Denney supporters at a VIP reception. “They’re good family-values people and we’re happy to have ‘em coming,” Denney said.
Pulling in out-of-state star power to boost a campaign isn’t uncommon, notes Boise State University emeritus professor Jim Weatherby, especially for a top office like governor. He pointed to presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s campaigning with movie star Chuck Norris, and declaring that he was “Chuck Norris approved.” Christie “certainly has star power,” Weatherby said. “He’s an excellent speaker and I suspect will draw a big crowd.”
As for Denney’s race, Weatherby said, “It’s a little hard sometimes to get a lot of excitement for some of the elected positions like Secretary of State.”
Denney said he put in an offer to get the famously bearded TV stars to come out, and was surprised when they accepted. He’ll pay them a flat fee, and they’ll present “Happy, Happy, Happy: An Evening with A&E’s Duck Dynasty” at the Idaho Center in Nampa on March 29, 2014. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Former Democratic 1st District congressional candidate Jimmy Farris announced today that he's running for a seat in the Idaho Legislature, seeking to fill House seat that will open when Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, shifts to a run for the Senate as Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise, retires. “This district has had incredible representation over the years, and it’s important that we maintain that strong leadership with a representative who will continue to focus on the needs and interests of not only District 16, but the entire state of Idaho,” Farris said in a statement. Farris, a Lewiston native and former NFL football player, took 30.8 percent of the vote in his run against GOP Rep. Raul Labrador in 2012; it was his first run for office. Click below for his full announcement.
Burgoyne said he's planning a formal announcement of his Senate run early next week, but said, “It's not a secret.”
Idaho's 2nd District congressional race is back in the national news this morning, as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launches ads backing Congressman Mike Simpson and two West Virginia Republicans; the AP reports that business groups are increasingly stepping up to back pro-business Republicans against tea party backed challengers. Simpson faces a challenge from Idaho Falls attorney Bryan Smith, who's being backed by the Club for Growth, the same national group that promoted former GOP Idaho Congressman Bill Sali when he won a multi-way primary before serving a single term in Idaho's 1st District congressional seat.
In response to the news of the Chamber's pro-Simpson ad, the Club For Growth sent out a press release this morning headed, “Mike Simpson's Pro-Bailout, Pro-Obama Stimulus Pro-Debt Allies Try to Save His Flailing Candidacy,” sharply criticizing the Chamber. Simpson is an eighth-term Republican congressman, a dentist, and the former speaker of the Idaho House; click below for the national AP story about the U.S Chamber's move.
Gov. Butch Otter's re-election campaign released this statement today in response to the announcement from A.J. Balukoff that he'll run for Idaho governor as a Democrat:
“While others campaign and consider their options, Governor Otter is busy governing and continuing to position Idaho at the forefront of growth, job creation and freedom. He’s staying focused on the proper role of government while defending Idaho’s independence, addressing our workforce needs and creating economic opportunity for all Idahoans. That said, the Governor looks forward to discussing with voters the implications of a Democrat working to advance the Obama administration’s big-government priorities here in Idaho.”
You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Boise School Board Chairman A.J. Balukoff launched his Democratic campaign for governor of Idaho today, saying two decades of one-party GOP rule in Idaho have hurt the state’s education system and economy and created a “pay-to-play culture that leaves regular Idahoans on the outside looking in.” The 67-year-old businessman said, “I’m running for governor because I believe Idaho can do better.”
About 80 supporters gathered for Balukoff’s announcement outside Boise’s Hillcrest Elementary School in the sharp chill of an early-winter morning; a group of Balukoff’s grandkids – he has 30 – held signs including, “Grandpa for Governor.” Former four-term Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus was among those in the crowd. “He’s extremely well-qualified and would be an excellent candidate,” Andrus said of Balukoff. “He’s a successful businessman in his own right.”
Asked if he thought Balukoff – who’s never run for an office higher than school board – could beat two-term GOP Gov. Butch Otter, Andrus said, “Yes, he can beat Butch Otter,” but he added, “Butch may not be the candidate,” noting that Otter faces a challenge in the GOP primary from state Sen. Russ Fulcher. “We’ve had surprises before,” said Andrus with a chuckle, “I was elected.”
Said Balukoff, “We’ve had 20 years of one-party rule in this state, but I have a sense that the people of Idaho are ready for a change.” A businessman and retired CPA, Balukoff, who holds an accounting degree from Brigham Young University, is a major figure in the ownership groups of the Grove Hotel, the Idaho Steelheads hockey team, Century Link Arena, downtown office buildings and more. He also serves on the boards of the Boise Public Library, St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center, the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy, and Ballet Idaho, and is the former bishop of his LDS church ward.
He said education is a top issue for him; he’s served on the Boise School Board since 1997. That board took a high-profile position against the “Students Come First” school reform laws, which voters rejected last year. Balukoff said he backs the 20 recommendations of Otter’s education stakeholders task force, but said that approach should have been tried much earlier – instead of Students Come First. Plus, he said, “I don’t think it goes far enough. … It didn’t address early childhood education, and it didn’t address higher education needs in our state.”
Mike Lanza, a Boise parent who helped organize the successful campaign to overturn the school reform measures, said, “I’m certainly glad to see a candidate with a strong emphasis on education.” Others at the announcement included Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, who introduced Balukoff; and former state schools Superintendent Marilyn Howard, whom Bieter noted, saying, “We miss you, Marilyn.”
Balukoff said he’s making plans to travel around the state and meet with Idahoans, but hasn’t yet set a schedule. He said initial reaction to his run has been supportive from both Democrats and Republicans, “people I know in my neighborhood, at church, things like that.” He said, “I am independent-minded and have a track record of solving problems and building success.”
Longtime Boise School Board member A.J. Balukoff, a businessman, retired CPA and community volunteer, has scheduled an announcement for tomorrow morning on his decision regarding a possible run for governor as a Democrat. Balukoff, who first announced in July that he was looking at possibly challenging GOP Gov. Butch Otter and said he’d decide by the end of the year, will hold a public announcement at 11 a.m. at Boise’s Hillcrest Elementary School.
Balukoff has served on the Boise School Board since 1997; the board came out strongly against the voter-rejected “Students Come First” school reform laws pushed by state schools Superintendent Tom Luna and backed by Otter. He holds an accounting degree from BYU, and has lived in Boise since 1982, where he’s operated a large CPA firm and a chain of athletic clubs, and is now part of the ownership groups of the Grove Hotel, the Idaho Steelheads hockey team, Century Link Arena, downtown office buildings and more. He and his wife Susie have eight children and 26 grandchildren.
State Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, has decided against making a run for Idaho Secretary of State, and instead will seek another term in his District 14 Senate seat. Hagedorn, 57, made the announcement this morning on Twitter, Facebook, and “all my social media,” he said. “For me, social media is a critical connection.” He noted, “My 83-year-old dad is also on social media. … Everyone is becoming connected.”
Hagedorn, a retired Navy man who served three terms in the House before moving to the Senate in 2012, said he decided to stay in the Senate because of the challenging array of issues he’s able to address there. “I started thinking about all of the different things that we do in the Legislature, from potholes, the prisons, to health and welfare,” he said. “To try and live and work in that environment and solve the issues that we face is something that challenges me mentally and something that I enjoy.”
There’s already a crowded field in the GOP race for Secretary of State, now that longtime Secretary of State Ben Ysursa has announced he won’t seek another term. Former House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, entered the race even before Ysursa withdrew. Also looking at possible runs are former state Sen. Mitch Toryanski, R-Boise; chief deputy Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane; and Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene. And that’s just on the GOP side. Idaho’s primary election is in May. Click below to read Hagedorn's full statement.
State Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, launched his campaign for governor today, flying from Meridian to Coeur d'Alene to Idaho Falls to announce that he'll run against GOP Gov. Butch Otter in Idaho's May primary. Otter is a second-term governor who's seeking a third term and earlier served three terms in Congress and 14 years as the state's lieutenant governor; Fulcher is a fifth-term state senator who's taken exception to Otter's move to establish a state-based health insurance exchange, rather than letting the federal government run Idaho's exchange. Fulcher, shown here greeting supporters in Idaho Falls, said his first priority would be “reversing Gov. Otter's efforts to implement Obamacare here in Idaho,” and added, “I also believe our state is going down the wrong path in areas of education and the adoption of other federal programs.”
Otter, who is finishing up a state trade mission to Russia, had no immediate comment, nor did his campaign manager, Jayson Ronk, who told the Associated Press, “The governor has a campaign plan in place that we intend to execute.” Click below for a full report from the AP.
GOP Sen. Russ Fulcher of Meridian has scheduled announcements in Meridian, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls on Saturday to announce his “decision about a potential gubernatorial bid,” after several weeks of traveling the state to gauge support. Fulcher said he’s reached his decision “after much prayerful consideration;” you can see his full announcement schedule here.
As Idaho Statesman political columnist Dan Popkey noted this morning, “Fulcher, who isn’t made of money, surely wouldn’t be flying around the state to say he’s decided not to run. Despite Otter’s likely financial advantage and incumbency, Fulcher’s in.”
Fulcher, currently the Senate GOP caucus chair, is a fifth-term senator and a commercial real estate agent who worked in high tech for 24 years, including 15 years at Micron Technology and nine years as vice president of sales and marketing for Preco Electronics; he grew up on a Meridian dairy farm, and holds a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Boise State University.
Fulcher’s announcement comes as Otter, the second-term Republican governor, is gone on a nine-day trade mission to Russia.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson's bid for a ninth term got an assist Monday when former presidential candidate Mitt Romney released an endorsement letter. Simpson faces challenger Bryan Smith in next May's Republican primary election. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, lauded Simpson as a “stalwart conservative leader,” accusing what he called “outside” groups of interfering in the race by backing Smith. Smith has won the conservative group Club for Growth's support in his bid to unseat Simpson. Like Romney, Smith and Simpson come from Mormon backgrounds. One flashpoint in this internal GOP duel has centered on which candidate likes President Obama's health care overhaul the least. Smith accuses Simpson of not trying hard enough to repeal it, while Romney described Simpson as a lawmaker who has “fought to repeal Obamacare.”
Here’s a link to my Sunday column on the crowd forming to run in the GOP primary for Secretary of State, now that longtime Secretary of State Ben Ysursa has announced he’ll retire rather than seek another term in 2014.
Those expressing interest so far include former House Speaker Lawerence Denney, who announced even before Ysursa bowed out; Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, an attorney and freshman representative who notes there’s currently no one from North Idaho among Idaho’s top state elected officials; former Sen. Mitch Toryanski, R-Boise, an attorney, West Point grad and retired Army colonel who’s traveling the state this week to gauge support; chief deputy Ada County clerk Phil McGrane, an attorney and elections specialist who touts his work for transparency; and Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, a three-term state representative and first-term senator who’s a retired Navy man and an advocate for wounded veterans.
Add another name to the list of those pondering a possible run for Idaho Secretary of State now that longtime Secretary of State Ben Ysursa has announced he’ll retire after his current term: Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene. “It’s definitely intriguing,” said Malek, a first-term state representative and former deputy Kootenai County prosecutor. He said supporters have been urging him to run, and part of the appeal is the chance to get someone from North Idaho into the ranks of Idaho’s top state elected officials – currently there are none. “It’s an extremely important position, and I do think I would bring a qualified skill set to it as well,” Malek said.
He listed his law degree; his legislative and electoral experience; his work running an urban renewal agency in Post Falls before he went to law school; and his work with corporations as an attorney; Malek also served as North Idaho regional director for then-Gov. Jim Risch. But the 32-year-old also admitted he’s torn. “I do love where I’m at,” he said. “I have the best constituents in the world, and a job I love back in my home district. … I’m watching to see how the candidates shake out.” Malek is currently director of legal affairs for Heritage Health/Dirne Community Health Center in Coeur d’Alene. A newlywed, he holds degrees from the College of Idaho and the University of Idaho College of Law.
Others who already have expressed interest in the 2014 race from the GOP side are former House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, who announced his candidacy even before Ysursa bowed out; former state Sen. Mitch Toryanski, R-Boise; current chief deputy Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane; and current Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian. I’ll have a full rundown in my Sunday column this week.
“I expected some folks to enter into it, and it should be a lively primary,” Ysursa said. “Once the whole field is settled, we’ll see. I’m sure the Democrats will try to run some folks too.” Ysursa, the state’s chief elections offer, said with a grin, “I’ll put ‘em all on the ballot.”
Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa announced this afternoon that he’s decided not to seek a fourth term as Idaho Secretary of State, choosing instead to retire; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com. Here is Ysursa’s full statement:
“After careful thought and deliberation, I have decided not to seek reelection as Secretary of State, and will retire from public office at the completion of my third term in January 2015. It has been a distinct honor and privilege to serve the great people of the State of Idaho as Secretary of State and as Deputy Secretary of State for the last four decades but it is time to step down. I would note that my term does not end until 2015 and there are many important issues to face in 2014 pertaining to elections and Land Board issues which will be the focus of my attention. My office has a tradition of fairness, efficiency, and service which will continue throughout the rest of my term. I again thank the people of Idaho for having afforded me the privilege and opportunity to serve them as Secretary of State.”
Voters in Ketchum and Hailey have approved a local-option tax on lodging and rental cars to subsidize commercial airline service, with the projected $2 million a year proceeds to help entice airlines to serve the Wood River Valley, either through subsidies or advertising support. The Idaho Mountain Express reports that turnout was heavy, with mayor and council races also being decided; voters in both Ketchum and Hailey backed the air service tax measure by close to a 2-1 margin. It needed 60 percent to pass; it got 66 percent in Hailey and 64 percent in Ketchum. Boise State Public Radio has more here.
In yesterday’s city elections across the state, some longtime mayors were defeated – including Nancy Chaney of Moscow and Tom Dale of Nampa – while others, including Brian Blad of Pocatello and Garret Nancolas of Caldwell, were easily re-elected. Boise voters narrowly rejected two bond measures for parks and fire, exceeding 60 percent in favor but falling short of the two-thirds mark, while re-electing three incumbents to the City Council. Coeur d’Alene voters rejected a slate of hard-line conservatives, instead electing candidates for mayor and council who were backed by Balance North Idaho, a PAC credited with helping moderates retake the Coeur d’Alene School Board last May; local business owner Steve Widmyer easily beat longtime City Hall critic Mary Souza for mayor.
In Post Falls, in a race between two city councilors for mayor, Ron Jacobson defeated Kerri Thoreson 60-40; meanwhile, incumbent councilwoman Betty Ann Henderson, who is married to Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, won re-election over two challengers.
The race for an open mayor’s seat in Idaho Falls was won by Rebecca Casper, the Post Register reports, who defeated three other candidates, including second-place finisher Sharon Parry, who will retain her seat on the City Council. Blackfoot is headed to a runoff Dec. 3 after Paul Loomis and Dan Cravens led a six-way race for mayor, but none had a majority.
The Lewiston Tribune reports that Lewiston Mayor Kevin Poole and Councilman Dennis Ohrtman were defeated, as four new council members were elected in a race with a 26.6 percent turnout. Among them: An 18-year-old LCSC student. Bill Lambert, a Safeway manager, defeated longtime Moscow Mayor Nancy Chaney.
The Twin Falls Times-News reports that Filer Mayor Robert Templeman was defeated by City Councilman Richard Dunn; Jerome Mayor John Shine was defeated by David Davis; and Burley Mayor Terry Greenman appeared headed toward a defeat by challenger Merlin Smedley.
In Pocatello, the Idaho State Journal reports, a rematch between Mayor Brian Blad and former Mayor Roger Chase had a lopsided result, with Blad winning 66.4 percent to Chase’s 27.7 percent, four years after Blad first defeated Chase in a close race. Other close races around the state included Dale’s loss to Henry in Nampa; final, unofficial results showed just 113 votes separating the two, leaving Henry with 44.89 percent to Dale’s 43.45 percent.