Election Central

Yes, Sen. Thayn, it can be hard to believe flip-flopping politicians

Sen. Steve Thayn has reversed his insistence that he has no interest in running to replace retiring GOP Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna.

After Luna’s surprise announcement Monday that he won’t seek a third term, Thayn, R-Emmett, said he was focused on winning re-election in his massive district, covering Boise, Custer, Gem, Lemhi and Valley counties.

“I’m running for the Senate,” Thayn, R-Emmett, told me Monday, shortly after Luna’s withdrawal. “Why don’t people believe me? Is it something about my profession? Is it because I’m a politician?”

Thayn was chuckling as he said this. And perhaps the  joke was on me, as I wrote a column Tuesday reporting that Thayn was out of the mix to succeed Luna.

By Wednesday, Thayn had executed a classic political flip-flop, telling Idaho Education News, “I am considering it.”

Thayn told IEN he expects to make his decision soon out of deference to other potential candidates for a possibly open Senate seat and Republicans who open the annual Lincoln Day circuit Friday night in Weiser.

“I think it’s important to announce sooner than later, so people can make those decisions,” Thayn told IEN.


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