No big shakeups in legislative leadership elections

Lawmakers are in Boise this week for their post-election organizational session — to carve up committee assignments for the session beginning Jan. 12.

The first order of business, electing House and Senate leadership, yielded few big surprises. Legislators held closed caucuses Wednesday night to choose their floor leaders.

Here’s the lineup:

Senate Republicans: Pro Tempore Brent Hill, Rexburg; Majority Leader Bart Davis, Idaho Falls; Assistant Majority Leader Chuck Winder, Boise; Caucus Chairman Todd Lakey, Nampa. Lakey is the lone newcomer, taking a spot vacated by Meridian Republican Russ Fulcher, who ran for governor earlier this year. Lakey was elected in a four-way race. (Details from Betsy Russell, Spokane Spokesman-Review.)

Senate Democrats: Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, Ketchum; Assistant Minority Leader Elliot Werk, Boise; Caucus Chair Cherie Buckner-Webb, Boise. No changes.

House Republicans: Speaker Scott Bedke, Oakley; Majority Leader Mike Moyle, Star; Assistant Majority Leader Brent Crane, Nampa; Caucus Chair John Vander Woude, Nampa. No changes here either, although Crane and Vander Woude were challenged in leadership elections. (Details from Russell and Kimberlee Kruesi of the Associated Press.)

House Democrats: Minority Leader John Rusche, Lewiston; Assistant Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, Boise; Caucus Chair Donna Pence, Gooding. Erpelding is the new face in leadership. He succeeds Grant Burgoyne of Boise, who was elected to the Senate last month. Pence faced a challenge from Rep. Ilana Rubel, Boise.

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Check back Thursday for more coverage from the organizational session. We’ll be tracking the Senate Education Committee, which will have a new chairperson and at least three new members.

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