A north Idaho state lawmaker plans on challenging one of the four Republicans in House leadership positions and said that a shake-up or change is needed. Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, plans on challenging Rep. Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, for the House Majority Caucus Chair position, the fourth highest spot for a House Republican.
“Our House leadership needs somebody with strong leadership qualities,” Nonini told IdahoReporter.com. He said he’s told House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, but not Roberts about his planned run. “We’ve had four years of the same team. I believe, and I told the speaker this, that each year they’ve done a worse job.”
Both parties in each chamber of the Legislature will choose their leaders after the November election. Lawmakers in leadership spots can help set the agenda for the Idaho Legislature, including speeding up, slowing down, or killing specific pieces of legislation. Leaders have also been meeting with the governor to discuss the state budget during the months when the Legislature isn’t in session. Nonini said the caucus chair also has added responsibilities during election season, helping other party candidates campaign and raise money.
“I am a very aggressive and successful fundraiser,” Nonini said. “I believe I am a savvy and knowledgeable campaigner.” Nonini faces Democrat David Larsen in the general election. Larsen was a write-in candidate during the May primary.
Roberts, who plotted a run for Congress against Democrat Walt Minnick but withdrew from the race last year, said he is looking to keep his spot in the House. “I am running for re-election for Majority Caucus Chairman as are Lawerence, Mike (Moyle) and Scott (Bedke) for their respective leadership positions in the House,” Roberts said in an e-mail message.
“I have talked with Rep. Nonini about him running for leadership,” Denney told IdahoReporter.com by e-mail. “However at this time I don't have any idea whether he might be successful or not … I think that it’s early to be guessing about changes in House leadership.” Denney chaired Roberts’ run for Congress. Both were elected by House Republicans four years ago to their leadership posts.
Nonini said he has all the attributes needed to do the job, and that he’s worked hard for the GOP during his eight years in the House. “I spent the last four years as chairman of the (House) Education Committee, and I have taken a lot of arrows for our caucus,” he said.
On the Senate side, President Pro Tem Bob Geddes, R-Soda Springs, said he can’t predict what the leadership races will be like, but he said he’s heard rumors that someone will challenge him for the top spot in the Senate. “If it’s somebody good, I might support them, but I don’t know who that would be,” Geddes said. “It’s still quite a while until December, and there are people evaluating their circumstances.”
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