Nine Republican Idaho senators went out of their way Friday afternoon to put some political distance between themselves and fellow Republican Sen. John McGee.
In a highly unusual move, the nine signed a letter, saying they wanted everyone to know that they didn't support McGee remaining the chairman of their party's caucus. On Jan. 11, Republicans voted behind closed doors to keep McGee in the slot after listening to the Canyon County legislator apologize for his behavior involving a Father's Day 2011 drunken-driving incident.
The nine who opposed McGee's chairmanship were Sens. Russ Fulcher of Meridian, Lee Heider of Twin Falls, Dean Mortimer of Idaho Falls, Sheryl Nuxoll of Cottonwood, Mitch Toryanski of Boise, Monty Pearce of New Plymouth, Shirley McKague of Meridian, Steve Vick of Dalton Gardens and Chuck Winder of Boise.
In the letter, the nine wrote:
"Our constituents expect us to stand up for the convictions, principles and values we have said we represent and for which our constituents represent; and our constituents deserve to be reassured that their confidence in us is not misplaced. Given the toxic political climate that exists today, it is critical that we strive to uphold the highest standards of conduct in order to safeguard the public trust."