Greg Chaney, a candidate for retiring Rep. Darrell Bolz’s seat, told the Canyon County Central Committee at its monthly meeting Tuesday night that he would not withdraw, despite a backlash over the fact that he didn’t fully disclose past legal problems. He said he thinks staying in the race is the right thing to do and it is up to voters to decide the outcome.
Chaney, 32, has filed bankruptcy twice since 2004. He also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors, disturbing the peace and malicious injury to property, stemming from a 2009 argument with his girlfriend, whom he later married and divorced. Canyon County’s GOP leaders were not aware of Chaney’s history until news broke last week.
Chaney is running unopposed in the May Republican primary. Soon after news broke about Chaney, Brian Bishop announced that he would run as a write-in candidate for the seat. Bishop, 39, is a grandson of Sen. Leon Swenson, who served Canyon County from 1969 to 1982.
During Tuesday night’s Canyon County GOP meeting, Chaney made a few brief comments about why he is staying in the race. He had prepared a longer statement, but he did not have enough time to read it in its entirety.
Here is Chaney’s written statement to his fellow party members and the public:
“Let me begin by saying that it was never my intention to misrepresent or misstate my past. As reflected by my comments in the statesman today, the final amended charges represented to me the most accurate representation of what transpired that night; and, by sharing those I was sharing the evening to the best of my recollection and ability. There are elements of what was reported that I do not agree with, but there is enough about my behavior on that evening that I find offensive that I believe that ownership and responsibility rather than defensiveness was still the appropriate response. With that, the Idaho Press Tribune from April 10th details the accusations leveled in 2009, and today’s Statesman includes my response to direct questions about what happened. For full disclosure I was also charged with Dog at Large in 2003 and Failure to Purchase a Driver’s License in 2010 when stopped on an expired license.
“So what is my decision regarding the race? First let me say that I’ve had the opportunity recently to make the acquaintance of Mr. Bishop and he seems like one of the most quality human beings I’ve had the pleasure to meet. He is truly a joy to speak with. My priority was and continues to be seeing that the district is well represented, to that end I told Mr. Popkey yesterday if I was convinced Brian were the better candidate I would happily endorse him. This is nothing I wouldn’t have done during the March filing period. After meeting Brian I can see that he is a strong candidate with many positives. However, I still feel that I am uniquely equipped to articulate the conservative message, stand up to “add the words” influence, and question and challenge the status quo when circumstances are appropriate and the cause is just. These decisions shouldn’t be made by private negotiation, but by the electorate; so I say let the voters decide, let’s have a race.
“So how can I stay in the race (or enter the race in the first place) in light of recent reports? First, I’m running as who I am today, not who I was half a decade ago. Second, I’m free from who I was, and I’m not going to insult the one who saved me by living my life as if I’m still in chains. My presence in this race demonstrates that once redemption is claimed, we longer have to live in shame…I realize that some will say that this doctrine doesn’t anticipate party politics; but were I to limp away in shame now, I would be declaring my testimony to be a lie.
“Because of the negative focus, I haven’t had the chance to share much about who I am or how I will perform as representative. I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t point out two important characteristics that have been on display. Through the noise and confusion of the past six days these lessons should have been clear: Greg Chaney understands how to overcome adversity; and, Greg Chaney understands how to withstand pressure. Both of these traits will be valuable in the legislature.”