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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: leadership

Just a reporter, not a time traveler…

I understand there was some consternation last night that I was posting some legislative caucus election results before those votes had even occurred. That would indeed have been quite a feat. Alas, I am not a time traveler. Here's the explanation: My newspaper's servers are in the Spokane/Coeur d'Alene area, which is in the Pacific time zone. Yet I work in Boise, which is in the Mountain time zone, one hour later. So when I post an item on this blog at, say, 9:28 p.m. in Boise, the time stamp shows 8:28 p.m. - the time in Pacific time.

That means I'm not really posting this item now at just after 6 a.m., though after a long night last night, it feels that way. It's just after 7 a.m. in Boise.

Vander Woude wins three-way House caucus chair contest

Rep. John Vander Woude, R-Nampa, has won a three-way contest to be House GOP caucus chair. He defeated Reps. Stephen Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, and Christy Perry, R-Nampa. Vander Woude is a retail store operator who served in the House from 2007-2008, then was elected in 2010 and 2012; prior to his election to leadership, he served on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.

That's the final leadership vote of the night; in the morning, the 2013 Legislature will convene for its organizational session. That's when lawmakers take their oath of office, select their seats in the House and Senate chambers, formally elect the speaker and pro-tem, and hash out committee assignments and chairmanships, a process that could take all day.

Crane chosen House assistant majority leader

Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, has been elected House Assistant Majority Leader in a three-way contest, defeating Reps. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, and Jeff Thompson, R-Idaho Falls. Still to go is the three-way contest for the House's No. 4 leadership position, majority caucus chair.

Moyle stays as House majority leader

House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, has survived a challenge from Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, to keep his leadership post. This came after House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, was ousted by former Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, which means Bedke will leapfrog over Moyle from the No. 3 to the No. 1 leadership post. Still to come are votes on House GOP assistant majority leader and caucus chair, each of which is a three-way contest for an open seat.

Bedke ousts Denney as House Speaker

Three-term Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney, arguably the most powerful member of the Idaho Legislature, lost his leadership post tonight to rival Rep. Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, in a dramatic political upset. The ouster, which happened during closed-door legislative caucus elections, marked the first time in three decades that a top Idaho legislative leader has been deposed by his own party.

Bedke, a seventh-term state reprsentative and a rancher, didn't differ much with Denney on issues; both are conservative Republicans. But Denney's bare-knuckle style has increasingly grated on his large majority caucus in recent years, culminating in May's primary election, when he funneled party leadership PAC funds - donated by caucus members - into efforts to defeat several GOP incumbents. You can read my full story here at

Fulcher defeats challenge, full Senate GOP leadership team stays in place

Senate Majority Caucus Chair Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, has defeated a challenge from Sen. Steve Bair, R-Blackfoot, keeping the Senate's entire current GOP leadership team in place.

House Dems choose Rusche, Burgoyne and Pence as leaders

The House Democratic Caucus has announced its leadership contest results. Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, will continue as minority leader. Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, was chosen as assistant minority leader, and Rep. Donna Pence, D-Gooding, will be the new caucus chair. All three were uncontested for the leadership posts. The previous assistant leader and caucus chair, Reps. Elfreda Higgins of Garden City and Brian Cronin of Boise, didn't seek re-election.

Winder re-elected as Senate assistant majority leader

Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, has turned back a challenge from Senate State Affairs Chairman Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, to continue as Senate assistant majority leader.

Davis keeps Senate majority leader post, defeats challenge from Mortimer

Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, has defeated a challenge from Sen. Dean Mortimer, also an Idaho Falls Republican, to keep his leadership post. Davis is an attorney and eighth-term senator. “I continue to be honored to serve,” Davis said.

Also, Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, will continue in the top Senate leadership post.

Stennett chosen Senate minority leader

The first legislative leadership caucus election results are in, from the smallest of the four caucuses meeting tonight, the Senate Democrats. They elected Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, as their new minority leader, replacing Sen. Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello, who retired from the Senate. Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, was elected assistant minority leader, a position formerly held by Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise; and new Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, who moved over from the House, was elected caucus chair, the position Stennett formerly held.

Stennett is in her second term; she was appointed to the Senate in 2010 and first won election in 2011 to the seat formerly held by her husband, the late Sen. Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum.

The party's two spots on JFAC, the powerful Joint Finance-Appropriations Commitee, went to second-term Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, and new Sen. Roy Lacey, D-Pocatello, who moved over from the House this year after serving one term there.

Werk said, “In our caucus, we sit down, as we're doing right now, we talk things over, we figure out where people are best slotted. It's a super-collaborative process. We're small enough that we talk it over, and there are no hard feelings.”

Leadership races on tap tonight

Both the majority and minority parties, in both houses of the Idaho Legislature, will hold closed-door caucuses tonight to elect leaders. The highest-profile matchup is the one between House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, and Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, for the speaker's post. Bedke is shown here at right in this AP file photo; Denney is at left. House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, faces a challenge from Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry; and there are three-way races for the other two open House GOP leadership posts. Democrats in the House have two leadership posts to fill with the retirements of Reps. Elfreda Higgins and Brian Cronin; Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, is unopposed.

Also unopposed to continue in leadership is Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, but the Senate GOP has contests for its other leadership posts, including a challenge of Majority Leader Bart Davis by fellow Idaho Falls Republican Sen. Dean Mortimer. Senate Dems will be electing a new minority leader, with the retirement of former Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello. I'll post the results here as they become available.

Hartgen: Wills challenging Moyle for majority leader, 3-way contests for 2 other House GOP posts

Rep. Stephen Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, offers this summary of House GOP leadership races on his Facebook page: “For speaker, Scott Bedke is running against Lawerence Denney. For majority leader, Rich Wills is running against Mike Moyle. For assistant majority leader, there are three candidates: Brent Crane, Lynn Luker and Jeff Thompson, and for House majority caucus chair, three candidates, myself, Christy Perry and John Vander Woude.”

Writes Hartgen, “As a veteran legislator now into my third term, I'm honored to represent District 24, Twin Falls. I hope to bring some Southern Idaho perspectives and concerns to our leadership group and to other legislators.”

Leadership contests in both parties and both houses will be decided in closed-door caucuses on Dec. 5, the evening before the Legislature's Dec. 6 organizational session.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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