Boise Democrat jumps into lieutenant governor’s race

A Boise Democrat is jumping into Idaho’s open — and heated — race for lieutenant governor.

Terri Pickens Manweiler

Terri Pickens Manweiler, an attorney, announced her candidacy Wednesday — saying she would push for robust education funding and increased teacher pay, and pledging to bring a voice of reason to Statehouse politics.

“For many years, I believed the elected leaders in Idaho shared my values and that they genuinely cared about me,” Pickens Manweiler said. “For the past four or five years, that belief has been absolutely shattered.” (More coverage from Wednesday’s announcement from Kelcie Moseley-Morris of the Idaho Capital Sun.)

She is the first Democrat to announce for the lieutenant governor’s post.

Pickens Manweiler is a fourth-generation Idahoan, born in Pocatello. She graduated from the University of Southern California and the University of Idaho Law School. In 2008, she was founding partner of Pickens Law, a Boise firm, where she practices in mediation, real estate litigation, construction litigation and general commercial litigation.

Pickens Manweiler is running for a part-time but high-profile position. The lieutenant governor presides over the state Senate, and breaks rare tie votes in the 35-member chamber. But the lieutenant governor also serves as the state’s chief executive in the governor’s absence — and is first in line to succeed the governor.

And since governors and lieutenant governors are separately elected, they sometimes wind up publicly sparring over policy.

The race to date

Pickens Manweiler joins what has been, to date, a one-party race to succeed current Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who is running for governor on the Republican ticket.

House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, state Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, and former state Rep. Luke Malek of Coeur d’Alene are vying for the GOP nomination. Bedke and Giddings have publicly sparred over a House Ethics Committee investigation into Giddings, who publicly posted the name and photo of a legislative staffer who accused former state Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger of rape.

The Ethics Committee last week recommended Giddings be censured. Giddings has accused Bedke of pushing the investigation for political motives, which Bedke has denied.

While Malek has been outside this fray, he has parlayed his early entry in the GOP primary into a possible fundraising edge. He has filed full fundraising reports, reporting more than $93,000 in donations this year. (Neither Bedke nor Giddings have filed full fundraising reports, which aren’t due yet.)

Democrats’ status

The Democrats have not held the lieutenant governor’s post since 1979, and have not won a statewide election since 2002.

Next year, all statewide offices are on the ballot. But only one Democrat has filed preliminary paperwork for a gubernatorial run, perennial candidate Melissa Sue Robinson of Nampa. Democrats also have no announced candidate for state schools superintendent.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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