Election Central

Otter fills Patterson vacancy with former US Marshal Patrick McDonald

The West Boise seat left vacated by GOP Rep. Mark Patterson’s resignation over his criminal record has been filled by a retired state policeman and U.S. marshal, Patrick McDonald.

Gov. Butch Otter appointed McDonald Tuesday, saying he trusts McDonald’s “unquestioned integrity” and “lifetime of service” will mean he will represent constituents “with character, honesty, and great distinction.”

Patterson announced his retirement Dec. 20, effective Jan. 5. The District 15 Republican Committee submitted three nominees to Otter on Friday. Otter said he would conduct due diligence, including a police background check, before appointing a successor.

Otter passed over the GOP committee’s No. 1 choice, former Senate Majority Leader Rod Beck. McDonald finished second in the committee vote, ahead of No. 3 Sam Hoagland. Governors are empowered to choose any of the three nominees.

Beck and Otter have clashed repeatedly over the direction of the Idaho Republican Party, but Beck said he had the best experience for the job and hoped Otter would name him.

McDonald began campaigning to unseat Patterson in August and will seek a full term in the May GOP primary. His wife, Sarah Jane, is the sergeant at arms of the Idaho Senate.

Otter’s news release follows:


(BOISE) – Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced the appointment today of Patrick McDonald of Boise to fill the District 15 Idaho House of Representatives vacancy left by the resignation of Representative Mark Patterson.

McDonald was among three nominees submitted to the Governor last Friday by the District 15 Republican Legislative Committee. The former U.S. marshal and Idaho State Police officer will serve out the remainder of Patterson’s term and will seek the Republican nomination to run for the seat in his own right in the May 20 primary election.

The other nominees were Rod Beck and Sam Hoagland.

“The citizens of District 15 deserve the chance for continuity and someone of unquestioned integrity representing them in the Idaho House. Pat McDonald ably provides those qualities, as well as a lifetime of service and a focus on the public’s safety and wellbeing,” Governor Otter said. “It’s important that he wants to keep serving in the Legislature beyond this term. More importantly, I trust him to serve District 15 and all of Idaho with character, honesty, and great distinction.”

McDonald, 67, was born in Salt Lake City and grew up in Burley. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Idaho State University and was a member of the Idaho State Police for 33 years – rising through the ranks from trooper to captain and regional patrol commander. McDonald was U.S. Marshal for Idaho during the George W. Bush administration. He and his wife, Sarah Jane, have three sons.

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