Judd Deere, Idaho GOP Sen. Mike Crapo’s press secretary for the past two years, is leaving his Capitol Hill gig Wednesday to return to his home state as deputy campaign manager and communications director for Congressman Tim Griffin’s bid for lieutenant governor.
Griffin, considered a rising GOP star, turned down chances to run for governor and the U.S. Senate. He announced in February he would seek the state’s No. 2 executive spot after the resignation of Lt. Gov. Mark Darr over ethics charges. Griffin is a veteran of Iraq, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas and former special assistant and deputy director of political affairs for President George W. Bush.
With a salary of $62,750 in 2013, Deere said leaving Crapo “has been one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make” with personal considerations playing the key role. Married in December, Deere and his wife, Meg, have been living apart during his three years on Capitol Hill. Earlier, Deere worked for Arkansas GOP Sen. John Boozman.
Deere helped Crapo navigate through a December 2012 DUI with little apparent damage to the three-term senator’s reputation. He said his departure has nothing to do with any prospect that Crapo might retreat from his stated plan to run for a fourth six-year term in 2016.
Said Deere: “Senator Crapo has said previously that he intends to run for re-election in 2016 and to the best of my knowledge there has been no change to those plans. This was strictly a personal decision to be closer to my wife and continue my career, for now, in my home state.”
“We had always planned that after her graduation from pharmacy school (this coming May) she would move to D.C., but as you know, life sometimes presents other options,” Deere said. “Meg was recently offered a job at a compounding pharmacy in Arkansas; a job neither one of us felt she could turn down.
“Upon her accepting, Meg and I agreed to continue living apart for another year, but both of us knew this was not ideal. When Congressman Griffin reached out, it presented us with an opportunity to be together and for me, a chance to continue in my career field in my home state. Meg and I are both calling this a detour and not a departure from our plans to be in the D.C. area. I will be back and next time will bring her with me.”
Crapo, elected in 1992 to the U.S. House after serving as president pro tem of the Idaho Senate, would rank second in Idaho history for length of congressional service if he completed a fourth term, behind only the legendary GOP Sen. William Borah.
Crapo had $3.2 million in cash in his campaign account at the close of 2013.
For the record, Deere did not attend the University of Arkansas, home of the Razorbacks and the famous “Woooo, pig, sooie!” hog call. (Click the link and teach the call to your kids!) Deere went to Lyon College in Batesville, Ark.