Election Central

Tribune’s Trillhaase rips Denney as unfit for Idaho secretary of state

It appears that a run for secretary of state by former Idaho House speaker Lawerence Denney won’t get much sympathy from the opinion arm of the largest newspaper in north central Idaho.

In his Wednesday column, Lewiston Tribune Editorial Page Editor Marty Trillhaase gets out the long knives in assessing the prospect of Rep. Denney’s candidacy.

Trillhaase notes, as I reported in my column Tuesday, that three-term incumbent Republican Secretary of State Ben Ysursa is declining to say whether he’ll run for a fourth term next year. Ysursa says he’ll announce his plans “within the next few weeks.”

Denney, R-Midvale, was a frequent target for Trillhaase while Denney was speaker of the House from 2006-2012. Denney was defeated in December in a vote of the 57-member GOP Caucus by Rep. Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. Trillhaase, the son of former GOP lawmaker Martin Trillhaase, R-Idaho Falls, entitles his column, “The Bizarro World of Boss Denney’s Ambition.”

I’ve phoned and emailed Denney asking if he’d like to respond. If he does, I’ll update this post.

The Tribune is available online to subscribers only.

Trillhaase hails Ysursa for his even-handed administration of Idaho election law, Sunshine Law disclosures and redistricting.

“If it was a choice between his party and the voters, Ysursa picked the voters every time,” Trillhaase writes.

He blasted Denney for his dealings with lobbyists, coddling disgraced and defeated tax scofflaw Rep. Phil Hart, killing ethics reform and undermining the citizens commission on redistricting.

“On one hand is an official with a legacy of expanding the vote, respecting the electoral process, shining a light on government and standing up for ethics in public office,” Trillhaase writes. “On the other is a record so rife with smarmy cronyism that it repulsed members of his own party.”



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