In the wake of four Republican state senators losing their primary races to candidates who say they are more conservative, Senate President Pro Tem Bob Geddes of Soda Springs said he’s heard that he could see challengers for leadership in the Idaho Senate next year.
“I know that there are a few people out there posturing, and that none of us are safe,” Geddes told IdahoReporter.com. “There are a number of folks who are at least testing the viability of their leadership candidacy, but I don’t know anybody yet who’s made a decision yet that they’re going to run.”
“That’s always a possibility,” said Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston, the assistant majority leader.
Geddes wouldn’t name any potential new leaders in the Senate. “I’m very often the last to know, he said. “If someone’s going to challenge me, they haven’t told me that yet.” One of the four challengers who ousted a sitting Republican, Sheryl Nuxoll of Cottonwood, said she plans to vote for more conservative leadership next year. Geddes said he thinks Senate Republicans should hold off on making commitments of who to back until closer to 2011.
Geddes said one of his goals now is to preserve the GOP majority in the Legislature. Republicans hold 28 of 35 seats in the Senate, and 52 of 70 seats in the House. “We’ve definitely got some work to do in maintaining our numbers,” Geddes said. “I think we’ve got some real good viable candidates who showed strong in the primary. I hope to at least come back with the same number and maybe one or two more.” He said he would hate to lose the Senate seat from Moscow, where Sen. Gary Schroeder lost in the primary to Gresham Bouma. He also said he thinks Republicans can pick up the Boise seat vacated by Senate Minority Leader Kate Kelly. “I’m going to work hard to support Mitch Toryanski for that seat,” Geddes said. Boise House Rep. Branden Durst is also seeking to replace Kelly in the Senate.