Statehouse shakeup: Keough will not seek re-election

The senior member of the Idaho Senate is stepping down next year.

Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, says she will not seek re-election in 2018, the Bonner County Bee reported Tuesday.

A 22-year Statehouse veteran, Keough co-chairs the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee — the House-Senate panel that writes budgets for the K-12 system, higher education and state agencies.

Keough represents Bonner and Boundary counties — Idaho’s northernmost legislative district. A moderate, Keough has withstood conservative challenges in recent Republican primaries.

In announcing her decision to step aside, Keough also endorsed a would-be successor, James Woodward, a Sagle Republican. Woodward filed his initial candidate paperwork on July 3.

Keough’s decision represents another shakeup in the Legislature.

On June 29, Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, was nominated to a vacant U.S. attorney’s seat. That appointment sets up a scramble for Davis’ spot in the Senate — as well as his pivotal spot in Senate leadership.

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JFAC also will be in transition. The committee’s House co-chair, Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, has previously said she will not seek re-election in 2018.