(Note: This is part 3 of a five-installment interview with Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives.)
House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, says he was surprised in early December when Gov. Butch Otter decided to run for re-election in 2014.
Denney also shared his 2012 electoral plans and explained why he is backing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the GOP race for president.
Otter’s December surprise
Regarding Otter, Denney expects much will happen in the way of politics between now and 2014 that could change Otter’s situation. But if the governor follows through on the promise, Denney says there will be support for Otter when that time comes.
Otter announced his intentions in early December at the North Idaho Governor’s Ball, a fundraiser to aid his campaign, which has more than $200,000 in debt. Several have panned the announcement, saying that the declaration was mainly intended to keep Otter from appearing as a lame duck governor and/or to give him a vehicle for raising money to retire his campaign debt.
Denney is skeptical of the announcement, but was supportive of Otter’s decision. “Certainly, if he is serious and wants to run, I think there will still be a considerable amount of support,” Denney said. “But, I think it’s pretty early to announce what your intentions are two years from now.”
Denney warned that circumstances – political or otherwise – could keep the governor’s promise from happening. “We don’t know what’s going to happen in the next session before you actually start that campaign,” Denney said. “I was actually a little surprised he announced that early.”
Five legislators in a district
When the second redistricting commission completed its work in the fall, Denney found himself in an odd – though not unheard of – situation: He was included in the new District 8 with four other representatives. Denney and his seatmate, Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, were lumped together with Reps. Steve Thayn and Carlos Bilboa, Republicans from Emmett, and House Majority Caucus Chair Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly. The district’s Senate seat is open.
Denney declined to say how things might shake out with the other lawmakers, but did confirm he will seek his own seat again in the primary election.
On backing Mitt Romney
In the coming weeks, Republicans across the nation will make their pick for the man or women to face off with President Barack Obama in November. While some GOP members are still deciding on their pick, Denney is firmly in the Romney camp.
While he says his views might align more closely with Texas Congressman Ron Paul or Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, Denney says he believes of the bunch, only Romney is electable. TheIdahospeaker says getting Obama out of office is more important than nominating a pure candidate.
“I think that our country is in a position where we have to make a change, and certainly I think we have to look at who can win,” Denney explained.
(Coming Friday: Denney weighs in on the issue of a health care exchange for the state of Idaho. Video for the Denney series by Mitch Coffman, IdahoReporter.com.)