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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: Secretary of State

GOP rivals for Secretary of State blast perceived front-runner McGrane in debate

Among the four GOP candidates facing off for the chance to become Idaho’s next Secretary of State, the three with experience in elective office made it clear in a televised debate last night that they see the one who lacks that as the front-runner.

Former House Speaker Lawerence Denney and former state Sens. Evan Frasure and Mitch Toryanski heaped criticisms on chief deputy Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane, the youngest candidate in the race and the one who’s been endorsed by retiring Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and many of Idaho’s 44 county clerks. “I didn’t accept any endorsements from (county) clerks,” Frasure said. “I think it’s inappropriate. … They are the referees. They need to stay out of partisan elections, clerks do.” County clerks, who oversee elections in their counties, are partisan elected officials in Idaho.

Toryanski said, “Unfortunately, Mr. McGrane put them in a very bad position. He persuaded them to use their position and their title to support his campaign,” while also advocating that the Secretary of State be fair and non-partisan in handling elections. “Phil says one thing but when it benefits him, he does another, and that bothers me,” Toryanski said.

McGrane responded, “I’m honored to have the support of Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and the majority of the clerks throughout the state.” He said, “It’s because of the great people who oversee this system that we put so much faith in it.”

The debate, sponsored by the Idaho Press Club and the League of Women Voters of Idaho and broadcast statwide on Idaho Public Television, was part of the “Idaho Debates” leading up to Tuesday’s primary election. During the hour-long debate, McGrane took heat from his rivals for everything from his concerns about the closed primary to whether it’s better to making voting easier. You can read my full story here at, and see the full debate here at

Tonight is the final installment of the Idaho Debates: The sole debate in the GOP primary race for governor, with Gov. Butch Otter, Sen. Russ Fulcher, Harley Brown and Walt Bayes all scheduled to appear.

Little endorses McGrane in Secretary of State race

Lt. Gov. Brad Little has endorsed Phil McGrane in the four-way Republican primary contest for Idaho Secretary of State, saying he “rarely, if ever” endorses candidates in the primary, “But the circumstances of this election are different.” In a statement, Little said, “ In a crowded field for the office of Secretary of State and limited access to resources for all of them, voters may not have the opportunity to learn enough about these candidates, and so my colleagues and I are stepping forward with our shared opinion.  The office of Secretary of State is a critical one.  We all agree the Secretary of State must be someone who is fair, evenhanded, strong of character, and who possesses the expertise necessary to serve in this office.  We believe the candidate best suited to this position is Phil McGrane.”

 McGrane faces former House Speaker Lawerence Denney, former Sen. Evan Frasure and former Sen. Mitch Toryanski in the May 20 GOP primary; the winner will face Democrat Holli Woodings in November. In addition to Little, McGrane announced endorsements today from nine GOP lawmakers.

Meanwhile, Denney, announced endorsements from 10 current North Idaho GOP lawmakers, led by Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, and six former ones. Vick said in a statement, “I support Lawerence because of his integrity and his extensive knowledge of natural resource issues. These qualities will serve him well in his responsibilities in overseeing our elections and his responsibilities on the Land Board.”

The endorsement announcements are just the latest in the race; among notable ones announced earlier: Current Secretary of State Ben Ysursa endorsed McGrane; 1st District Congressman Raul Labrador endorsed Denney; Freda Cenarrusa, widow of former Secretary of State Pete Cenarrusa, endorsed Toryanski; and Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis endorsed Frasure.

The Secretary of State is Idaho’s chief elections officer, and also oversees corporate filings, campaign finance and lobbying disclosures, registries including health care directives, wills and more, and serves on the Land Board, the Board of Examiners, and the Board of Canvassers.

Secretary of State race heats up, with both Toryanski and Frasure to announce Thursday

Both Mitch Toryanski and Evan Frasure announced today that they’ll formally announce their candidacies for Idaho Secretary of State on Thursday, Toryanski at 11:45 a.m. in 2nd floor rotunda of the state Capitol, and Frasure at 11:15 a.m. on the steps of the Bannock County Courthouse in Pocatello. Toryanski is a an attorney and former GOP state senator from Boise; Frasure is a former GOP state senator from Pocatello who also ran unsuccessfully for Secretary of State in 2002. Frasure is listing endorsements from Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, several other GOP lawmakers, three Bannock County commissioners and the mayors of Pocatello and Chubbuck in his news release; Toryanski says Freda Cenarrusa, widow of the late longtime Idaho Secretary of State Pete Cenarrusa, will be his honorary campaign chairman.

Secretary of State Ben Ysursa’s decision to retire rather than seek a fourth term in the post has kicked up interest in the race; former House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, announced his candidacy even before Ysursa bowed out. Chief deputy Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane launched his campaign last week; still considering the race are Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, and Rep. Holli High Woodings, D-Boise.

Former GOP Rep. Evan Frasure to run for Secretary of State

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 ( 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.

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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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