Community Blog: The EDge

Smylie sounds like a candidate, but he’s ‘resisting’ another run

At Thursday’s education reform task force hearing in Boise, former state Rep. Steve Smylie delivered an emotional indictment of the education system.

Steve Smylie
Steve Smylie

The son of former Gov. Robert Smylie — the Republican who crafted a sales tax in 1965 to help fund schools — Steve Smylie said the state is starving its schools, leaving an underfunded K-12 system and a university system that too many Idahoans can’t afford to attend.

He followed that up with a stinging criticism of Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, in Idaho Education News’ comment section. “The system today that is creating such chaos is the result of a state superintendent who has no teaching experience, no educational credentials, a ‘degree’ purchased on the Internet, and sincere but misguided ideas to improve schools.”

Does Smylie sound like someone looking at another run at state superintendent, seven years after losing to Luna by 893 votes in a razor-thin Republican primary?

On Tuesday, Smylie said he’s had “a lot of people” ask him about a run. “But right now, I’m kind of resisting it.”

Smylie said he’s unsure he could raise the $100,000 he thinks he’d need for a GOP primary, and he isn’t sure how he’d fare in the new “closed” Republican primary that requires voters to register with the party. (The 2006 primary was open to all voters, with no registration requirement.)

Smylie also says he’s been approached about switching parties and running on the Democratic Party ticket, but has no interest in that.

No candidates — Republican or Democrat — have announced plans to run for state superintendent in 2014. And that includes Luna, the two-term incumbent, who says he will announce his intentions by the end of the year.

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger at Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org). Kevin is a former Statesman editorial page editor, with 27 year's experience in Idaho journalism.

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