BOISE – Retiring Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa threw his support behind Phil McGrane Tuesday in the four-way GOP race for the office.
Ysursa pointed to McGrane’s years of election experience as chief deputy Ada County clerk, and his legal background as an attorney.
The other three GOP candidates are former House Speaker Lawerence Denney of Midvale; former Sen. Mitch Toryanski of Boise; and former Sen. Evan Frasure of Pocatello. The GOP winner will face state Rep. Holli Woodings, D-Boise.
Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, supports McGrane.
“He’s the guy that’s always in front of our State Affairs Committee the last six or seven years, talking about election laws,” Anderson said. “He was the one everybody else was asking to do that because of his skills.”
Tuesday’s announcement followed a big event over the weekend for Denney, who brought in several stars from “Duck Dynasty,” the A&E reality show, for a campaign fundraiser Saturday night at the Idaho Center. The Idaho Statesman reported that “several thousand” people attended the event at the 12,000-seat arena.
“Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson, clutching a Bible, told the crowd, “When this goes, your freedom goes with it.”
Meanwhile, Woodings, who is unopposed on the Democratic ticket, sent out an email noting that Denney sold tickets for the campaign event for $47.
“Why is that important? Because Idaho’s sunshine law requires candidates to report every contribution over $50,” she wrote. “Contributions under $50 don’t have to be disclosed. That means no one who attends this event will appear on Denney’s sunshine report. So why would someone who wants to be secretary of state – the very person in charge of upholding our sunshine laws – try to skirt the system?”
She invited her supporters to send her $51 contributions – exceeding the reporting limit and requiring that the donations be disclosed.