The race to decide who will be Idaho's next secretary of state got a lot more interesting Tuesday—and the contest was already pretty interesting by attracting five candidates, four of them Republican.
But the man who has worked in the Secretary of State's Office, 28 years as deputy and three terms as the man in charge, Ben Ysursa, publicly announced that he was throwing his considerable support behind Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane. Ysursa announced in November 2013 that this would be his last year in office, unleashing a flurry a candidate filings.
"As I travel around and people offer some accolades, I have never heard so many nice things about me as when I'm going out the door," joked Ysursa. "But I've had numerous inquiries asking, 'Who do you like in the field of candidates?'"
And on Tuesday afternoon, Ysursa went public with the story that Boise Weekly first reported March 30.
"I'm very concerned... let's say I'm interested in who my successor is going to be, especially since it will obviously be going to a non-Basque," Ysursa joked again. "So, it's even more important."
Ysursa repeated the primary pillars of his office that any Statehouse veteran has heard hundreds of times.
"The office is all about fairness, efficiency and service," said Ysursa. "And the gentleman without a doubt to keep that alive is Phil McGrane."
McGrane stood before a cheering group of supporters, who ducked inside under the Statehouse dome to avoid Tuesday's steady rain.
"For so many years we've had wonderful leadership in the Secretary of State's Office. It has been fair, honest and transparent," said McGrane, while calling Ysursa his mentor.
McGrane will face three GOP challengers in the May 20 primary: Midvale Rep. Lawerence Denney, former Sen. Evan Frasure and former Sen. Mitch Toryanski.
The winner of the Republican face-off will go up against Democratic Rep. Holli High Woodings in November's general election.