Betsy Z. Russell: Secretary of state candidates gain GOP endorsements
BOISE – It’s become something of an endorsement war lately among the GOP candidates for Idaho secretary of state, with Mitch Toryanski introducing Freda Cenarrusa, widow of longtime Secretary of State Pete Cenarrusa, as his campaign chair; Evan Frasure touting endorsements from an array of lawmakers topped by Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis; and Lawerence Denney naming three honorary campaign chairmen: 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador for the Treasure Valley; former Sen. Don Burtenshaw, R-Terreton, for eastern Idaho; and GOP icon Ruthie Johnson for North Idaho.
Freda Cenarrusa joined Toryanski for his formal campaign kickoff in the state Capitol on Thursday. “Pete liked and trusted Mitch. And I like and trust Mitch Toryanski,” she said. “Mitch is what Pete and I like in a leader.” Cenarrusa cited Toryanski’s commitment to family, his distinguished military career, and his government and business experience. “I respect Mitch Toryanski’s stellar record as a leader, a commander of troops, a father and a husband,” she said.
Frasure, who held his formal campaign kickoff the same day in Pocatello, named backers including Sen. Fred Martin, R-Boise; Sen. John Tippets, R-Montpelier; McCammon Republicans Sen. Jim Guthrie and Rep. Kelly Packer; three Bannock County commissioners; and the mayors of Pocatello and Chubbuck.
Frasure is a former longtime state senator who is making his second run for secretary of state after losing to Ben Ysursa in 2002; he also served on the Idaho Citizens Redistricting Commission. Now a high school government teacher, Frasure was a real estate broker for 30 years.
Denney, who launched his campaign Oct. 24 – well before Ysursa announced he wouldn’t seek another term – said of his new honorary campaign chairs, “These close friends are well-respected politically, have great connections and are tremendous, hard-working people that anyone would be proud to have on their campaigns.”
Chief Deputy Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane, who launched his campaign Dec. 10 with the backing of an array of county clerks from across the state, also is in the race. Still considering it are Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, and Rep. Holli High Woodings, D-Boise.
Senators explain votes
Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch both were in the minority last week, as the Senate voted 64-36 in favor of a bipartisan budget deal brokered by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., that earlier passed the House overwhelmingly.
The deal sets federal spending on domestic and defense programs and averts the threat of a government shutdown for the next two years; it makes modest changes in spending levels, replaces about $63 billion in automatic sequester budget cuts, and adds new fees on airline passengers and increases federal workers’ pension contributions.
Crapo called the deal “the wrong direction for our fiscal policy and our economy,” and Risch called it “a step backward.”
“This deal unfortunately falls into the same promises of future budget cuts that never materialize, and then raising new revenue to offset increasing spending,” Crapo said. “The bottom line is that Americans end up paying more to justify bigger spending by Congress.”
Risch said, “This deal raises federal spending at a time when we should be cutting spending. Under present law, with the sequester, the federal government is actually cutting its spending for the first time in decades. This deal reverses that with a promise it will cut spending later. … Along with many other problems, this deal cuts retirement benefits previously promised to veterans. This is just wrong.”
Malloy to seek House seat
Chuck Malloy, a former editorial writer at the Idaho Statesman and former aide to the House Republican Caucus from 2007 to 2010, has announced he’s seeking the appointment to serve out the remainder of the House term of Rep. Mark Patterson, R-Boise, the embattled freshman representative who said last week he’s resigning. Malloy said he would not run for a full term in the post.
“My aim is not to launch a political career, or walk away with a sweepstakes prize. My sole interest is to provide a service to the people of my district and the state I love,” he said. Malloy is a Silver Valley native and graduate of Coeur d’Alene High School and the University of Idaho.
Malloy said he’s one of seven people laid off from the Idaho Statesman just after Thanksgiving, and said the state’s economy is a big concern for him.
When a legislator resigns, the party committee for that district, from the party of the former legislator, submits three nominees to the governor for appointment, and the governor chooses from among the three.