Election Central

Denney accuses Ysursa of conflict of interest in endorsement of McGrane

Rep. Lawerence Denney on Tuesday criticized outgoing Secretary of State Ben Ysursa for endorsing Phil McGrane over Denney and two other Republicans in the race to replace Ysursa.

“I was surprised to see our current Secretary of State endorse somebody in this race,” the Midvale lawmaker and former House speaker said in a news release. “Because of the appearance of conflict of interest, as Secretary of State, I will not serve as anyone’s campaign chairman for any campaign over which I serve as the chief election judge. Doing otherwise sends the wrong message for the chief elections officer.”

Denney made the comment in the release that followed his Tuesday news conference where he formalized endorsements from Congressman Raul Labrador and Treasurer Ron Crane, which we first reported last week.

I asked Ysursa last week about the perception of a conflict in his support of McGrane over Denney and former Sens. Mitch Toryanski and Evan Frasure. The GOP nominee will face Democratic Rep. Holli Woodings of Boise in November.

Ysursa said he doesn’t count ballots and isn’t playing favorites. “Within these walls, it’s all by the books,” Ysursa said. “I think I’ve proven that over 40 years.”

“People who know me know that the fact that I think Mr. McGrane is the best candidate and should be nominated will have nothing to do with the duties of my office,” Ysursa continued.

In 2002, Ysursa’s predecessor, Pete Cenarrusa, endorsed Ysursa, who began working for Cenarrusa in 1974. Ysursa won the GOP primary that year over Frasure with 66 percent of the vote and defeated Democrat Ronald Perry with 78 percent.

In endorsing Denney, Labrador said, “I have always admired Lawerence Denney’s integrity, tenacity and commitment to doing what is right. If you want somebody who will fight for you, protect your lands, protect your ballot and protect everything that is important to Idaho, Lawerence Denney is the man for the job.”

Said Crane: “The Land Board is a critical position and Lawerence has the business and political experience to make him a strong advocate for Idaho.  He’s been a farmer and rancher and worked in the logging industry. He understands natural resources. He’s not going to be interested in locking up land so people don’t have access to it. He’ll strongly support multiple use. He’s the natural fit for the job.”

Pictured below are Crane, left, Denney, center, and Labrador at Tuesday’s news conference.

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The news release from the Denney campaign follows:

Idaho Congressman and Idaho State Treasurer add to growing list of supporters of Lawerence Denney for Secretary of State
Raul Labrador and Ron Crane point to Denney’s experience as a legislator, business owner and principled conservative

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador and Idaho State Treasurer Ron Crane endorsed Lawerence Denney for Idaho Secretary of State on Tuesday, pointing to his business and political experience and his dedication to conservative principles and fair elections.

The endorsements highlight Denney’s growing list of Idaho leaders who support his campaign. About two dozen supporters attended the noon news conference in the Capitol Rotunda.

Labrador, who was an ally of Denney’s when they served together in the Idaho State Legislature, expressed his appreciation for the time Denney spent mentoring him as a newly elected state representative. “I have always admired Lawerence Denney’s integrity, tenacity and commitment to doing what is right,” said Labrador.  “If you want somebody who will fight for you, protect your lands, protect your ballot and protect everything that is important to Idaho, Lawerence Denney is the man for the job.”

Crane said he has known Denney for 25 years, including when they both served in the Idaho House, and praised Denney as a man of principle and strong conservative beliefs.  He said Denney will enforce a fair elections process and will also serve as a strong advocate for the free market on the Land Board, where the Secretary of State joins the Governor, Attorney General, Controller and Superintendent of Public Instruction in setting policy for Idaho’s endowment trust lands.

“The Land Board is a critical position and Lawerence has the business and political experience to make him a strong advocate for Idaho.  He’s been a farmer and rancher and worked in the logging industry. He understands natural resources,” Crane said. “He’s not going to be interested in locking up land so people don’t have access to it. He’ll strongly support multiple use. He’s the natural fit for the job.”

Denney said he appreciates the support from Representative Labrador and Treasurer Crane.  He reminded the crowd that his business and political experience set him apart from the other candidates in this race.

“This is an election where experience counts.  Unlike other candidates in this race, I have experience in the private sector and running my own business.  I also have political experience.  I have served in the state legislature fighting for less government and better protection of your natural resources.  I also served for 6 years as Speaker of the House,” Denney said.

Denney added he would promote high standards as Secretary of State.

“I was surprised to see our current Secretary of State endorse somebody in this race.  Because of the appearance of conflict of interest, as Secretary of State, I will not serve as anyone’s campaign chairman for any campaign over which I serve as the chief election judge. Doing otherwise sends the wrong message for the chief elections officer.”

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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Posted in Election Central, Idaho Politics