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About this race

This contest is for an open seat due to the retirement of longtime GOP Secretary of State Ben Ysursa. Vying to take over are Republican Lawerence Denney, former speaker of the Idaho House, and state Rep. Holli Woodings, D-Boise. Four-year term. Position pays $101,150 a year.

Secretary of State, State of Idaho

792
Candidate Votes Pct
Lawerence E. Denney (R) 241,745 56.20%
Holli Woodings (D) 188,431 43.80%

* Race percentages are calculated with data from the Secretary of State's Office, which omits write-in votes from its calculations when there are too few to affect the outcome. The Spokane County Auditor's Office may have slightly different percentages than are reflected here because its figures include any write-in votes.


Related coverage

Eye on Boise: Ysursa advises successor Denney to ‘stay the course’

Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, as he accepted a major civic engagement award from the City Club of Boise last week, had this message for his successor, Secretary of State-elect Lawerence Denney: “Folks will be watching.” Ysursa said, “My advice to him is stay the course” when it comes to Idaho elections. He noted that Denney already has decided to keep Ysursa’s current chief deputy, Tim Hurst, and as much of the current staff in the office as possible.


Otter retains office; Ybarra holds slim lead

BOISE – Idaho GOP Gov. Butch Otter won a rare third term Tuesday over Democratic challenger A.J. Balukoff after a hard-fought race, while the race for state superintendent of schools was too close to call at press time. First-time Republican candidate Sherri Ybarra narrowly led Democrat Jana Jones, a former chief deputy state superintendent, in early returns in the superintendent’s race, the state’s closest race.


AdWatch: In rare move, Idaho Secretary of State candidate hits the airwaves

In an unusual move for an Idaho Secretary of State candidate, Holli Woodings is running a statewide TV commercial touting her candidacy and her commitment to making it easier to vote in Idaho; the ad is airing in the Boise, Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Spokane…


Letter: ‘I knew Pete Cenarrusa’

A letter to the editor in the Idaho Statesman today from Penny Ysursa, retired longtime employee of the Idaho Secretary of State’s office and wife of current GOP Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, is drawing some attention; it’s aimed at Republican Lawerence Denney, who is…


Woodings challenges Denney to quit his state pension

BOISE – Idaho secretary of state candidate Holli Woodings is calling on her GOP opponent, former House Speaker Lawerence Denney, to give up his state pension, in light of his comments at a live debate last week that he doesn’t believe elected officials should be on the state pension system. “If we want a fair and honest person as our next secretary of state, that person should be willing to live under the same rules he or she wants everybody else to live under,” Woodings said.


Woodings calls on Denney to give up state retirement pension; no response yet from Denney

Idaho Secretary of State candidate Holli Woodings is calling on her GOP opponent, former House Speaker Lawerence Denney, to give up his state pension, in light of his comments at a live debate last week that he doesn’t believe elected officials should be on the…


Denney appears to advocate controversial changes in Idaho elections, then backs off

Lawerence Denney, the Republican candidate for Idaho secretary of state, this week backed off from statements he’d made in suggesting he’d do away with Idaho’s primary election. “I think you misunderstood what I said,” Denney told reporters during a live debate on Idaho Public TV…


Denney wants to eliminate Idaho’s primary election

Idaho Secretary of State candidate Lawerence Denney wants to do away with the state’s primary election. Denney made the proposal at a City Club of Boise today against his Democratic opponent, Holli Woodings, who sharply disagreed with it; she said Denney wants to “put additional…


Closing statements: Smartphone app, leaving partisanship ‘at the door’…

After sparring on everything from voter access to Land Board policies, Democrat Holli Woodings and Republican Lawerence Denney were each given the opportunity for closing statements at today’s City Club of Boise debate. “Well, that was a lot of fun - I haven’t debated since…


Secretary of State debate: Independents, fingerprints, voting…

Some more highlights from today’s City Club of Boise debate between Republican Lawerence Denney and Democrat Holli Woodings: After Denney took the position that the primary election isn’t really an election and shouldn’t be run by the state, he was asked where independent voters should…


Denney, Woodings on ‘scandals’

Asked to address “scandals” including the Phil Hart affair, redistricting and more, Lawerence Denney, GOP candidate for Secretary of State, told the City Club of Boise, “Ninety seconds to explain all of those scandals is going to be a little bit difficult.” He said, “We…


Denney: Primary is not really an election, shouldn’t be run as one

Republican Lawerence Denney, debating Democratic opponent Holli Woodings today at the City Club of Boise, was asked if he now regrets supporting the closed primary, as he runs for Secretary of State, a position responsible for promoting voter turnout. “I do not regret having supported…


Secretary of State candidates on partisanship…

The first question to Lawerence Denney and Holli Woodings, the candidates for Idaho Secretary of State, as they debate today at the City Club of Boise, was about how they reconcile being partisan politicians with the nature of the office, which oversees elections. Denney said…


Bill for Idaho federal land legal fees up to $61,375

BOISE – The bill for outside legal fees in Idaho’s long-shot attempt to take over federal land within the state has now swelled to $61,375, according to documents obtained by The Spokesman-Review under the Idaho Public Records Act. The law firm Holland & Hart has submitted invoices to the Legislature for work from April to August totaling $19,613; that’s on top of the $41,762 the firm already had been paid before then.


Idaho Legislature’s federal lands panel bills for private lawyer climb to more than $61,000

The bill for outside legal fees for the Idaho Legislature’s Federal Lands Interim Committee has now swelled to $61,375, according to documents obtained by The Spokesman-Review under the Idaho Public Records Act. The law firm Holland & Hart has submitted invoices to the Legislature for…


Denney, Woodings vie to run Idaho elections

Lawerence Denney already has experience shaping Idaho’s election policy. In the Legislature, he pushed successfully to close Idaho’s GOP primary election to anyone but registered Republicans and fought to require voters to show photo I.D. at the polls to vote. He tried unsuccessfully to fire…


Timing of Denney committee tour raises eyebrows

The Federal Lands Interim Committee, a joint legislative interim committee co-chaired by Rep. Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, and Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, has scheduled a seventh public hearing, this one in Sandpoint on Sept. 12. That’s in addition to the six already scheduled during the next two months, including Sept. 11 in Kamiah and St. Maries; Oct. 9 in Idaho Falls and Soda Springs; and Oct. 10 in Twin Falls and Hailey. The swing around the state already has prompted a “jeer” from the Lewiston Tribune’s editorial page that Denney “just happens to be making a series of statewide swings at taxpayer expense, right in the middle of campaign season, including stops next month in Kamiah and St. Maries.” Denney, former speaker of the House and current House resources chairman, is running for Idaho secretary of state; he faces Democrat Holli Woodings in the November election.


Federal lands interim committee adds seventh public hearing next month

The Federal Lands Interim Committee, a joint legislative interim committee co-chaired by Rep. Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, and Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, has scheduled a seventh public hearing, this one in Sandpoint on Sept. 12. That’s in addition to the six already scheduled over the next…


Huckleberries: Aside from the humidity, it’s heaven on Earth

Ben Stein, the former Nixon speechwriter famous for his role as the economics instructor in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” feels our pain as he suffers from heat at his Sandpoint getaway. Before praising Pat Buchanan’s new book about Richard Nixon, Stein writes in the American Spectator: “The real problem is the humidity though. We left D.C. to escape the humidity. It was unbearable, like being in a steam room with your suit and tie on. We do not have much humidity in L.A., but we sure have plenty of it here in North Idaho this summer.” Conversely, Stein said he enjoys “the incredibly tasty kettle corn” and posing for photos with the friendly people at Sandpoint City Beach. Then, there’s “Lake Pend Oreille, limitless cool blue expanse of water, blue sky, clouds, and mountain forests.” In a parting salute to the region, Stein tells of his “brilliant, world-traveling sister” who had just concluded a trip to Tanzania. She told him that Tanzania is beautiful but no more beautiful than North Idaho – to which Stein adds: “No place is.” And all God’s over-heated children in our piece of paradise responded: Amen. A promise fulfilled: State Rep. Holli Woodings, D-Boise, has already fulfilled one campaign promise in her uphill battle for secretary of state against former House Speaker Lawerence “Boss” Denney. To her 3-year-old daughter, Mary. Rep. Woodings, who also has a baby son, was traveling with Mary last week when she visited Coeur d’Alene. Woodings told Huckleberries that she gets lonely for her family when she’s traveling around the state alone. On Monday, Woodings made her third campaign visit to the Lake City. During an earlier visit, Hollings promised her daughter that she could play in the new McEuen Park splash pad next time they visited Coeur d’Alene – weather permitting. The weather was outstanding on Monday. So the Boise Democrat kept her promise. Not many politicians do that.


Trib: Denney, Winder Waste Our $$$

Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune takes former House Speaker Lawerence Denney and state Sen. Chuck Winder to task for wasting taxpayers money by hiring an outside attorney to pursue an unconstitutional issue. Denney and Lawerence put Idaho taxpayers on the hook for $41,736 —…