Risch Returns To Leadership Role
Former Senate President Pro Tem James Risch, whose power in the state Capitol was short-circuited by an unexpected 1988 defeat, has returned to the leadership ranks of the state Senate.
Risch defeated Transportation Chairman Evan Frasure of Pocatello in closed-door balloting for the assistant Republican floor leader’s job which was opened up this summer with the resignation of Assistant Floor Leader Mary Hartung of Payette.
Hartung left the Senate in the middle of her fourth term to become an aide to Gov. Phil Batt. She also served three years in the House.
It was the first election Risch has won since his 1988 loss to Democrat Michael Burkett in what is still the most expensive legislative race in Idaho history. Many believe Risch’s tendency to become a lightning rod on controversial issues led to his demise.
The vote was taken Sunday during the party’s caucus in Idaho Falls.