Dueling secretary of state endorsements

(UPDATED, 4:54 p.m., with endorsements for Mitch Toryanski and Lawerence Denney.)

Ada County deputy clerk Phil McGrane picked up another prominent endorsement in his run for secretary of state — this time from former state Controller Donna Jones.

Phil McGrane
Phil McGrane

Last week, McGrane received endorsements from former Gov. Phil Batt and retiring Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, who is stepping aside after 12 years in the office.

Meanwhile, former state Sen. Mitch Toryanski of Boise added three current state senators to his roster of supporters: Assistant Majority Leader Chuck Winder of Boise; Jim Rice of Caldwell; and Dan Johnson of Lewiston.

And state Rep. Lawerence Denney lined up endorsements from U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador and state Treasurer Ron Crane, the Idaho Statesman’s Dan Popkey reported Friday.

McGrane and Toryanski are two of four Republicans seeking to succeed Ysursa; state Rep. Lawerence Denney of Midvale and former legislator Evan Frasure of Pocatello will also appear on the May 20 primary ballot. State Rep. Holli Woodings of Boise is running on the Democratic Party ticket.

Mitch Toryanski
Mitch Toryanski

The secretary of state’s most prominent role is serving as Idaho’s chief elections officer. But the secretary of state also is one of five members of the state Land Board, which makes state land endowment decisions that affect K-12 education and other beneficiaries.

Here’s the McGrane news release:

The Phil McGrane for secretary of state campaign today announced that former state controller and legislator Donna Jones had joined a growing number of stalwart Republicans who have endorsed McGrane’s candidacy. 

“The secretary of state’s office plays a vital, daily role for Idaho and there is no time for someone without genuine experience to master the steep learning curve this position entails. From his first day on the job our next secretary of state needs to be ready to oversee the elections process, lobbyist and campaign reporting, business filings and work with the other constitutional officers on the Land Board to make the best decisions for our state. Phil McGrane’s background and experience makes him the only qualified candidate in this race that can get the job done,” said Donna Jones.

Lawerence Denney

And here is the Toryanski news release:

Mitch Toryanski, West Point graduate, a 30-year U.S. Army veteran and former deputy attorney general and Idaho state senator, announced the expansion of his campaign team with the addition of Sen. Chuck Winder of Boise, Sen. Jim Rice of Caldwell and Sen. Dan Johnson of  Lewiston.

“My wife, Kim, and I are very blessed to have the support of such an accomplished group of Idaho citizens. These leaders, representing hundreds of thousands of Idahoans, have made great contributions to our state and have provided exceptional service to their communities. We are so appreciative of the trust and confidence that they have placed in me to faithfully perform the duties of secretary of state.”

Freda Cenarrusa, wife of Pete Cenarrusa, Idaho’s secretary of state for over 35 years is the campaign chair.

The balance of the Toryanski for Idaho Campaign Committee includes:

State Sen. Steve Bair of Blackfoot

State Sen. Bert Brackett of Rogerson

State Sen. Marv Hagedorn of Meridian

Rep. Stephen Hartgen of Twin Falls

State Sen. Lee Heider of Twin Falls

State Sen. (retired) Shirley McKague of Meridian

State Sen. Curtis McKenzie of Nampa

State Sen. Jim Patrick of Twin Falls

State Sen. Jeff Siddoway of Terreton

State Rep. (retired) Leon Smith of Twin Falls

Mr. Dar Symms of Caldwell.


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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