by Logan Finney, Idaho Reports
The top lawmaker in the Idaho House of Representatives is throwing his hat into the ring in the race for lieutenant governor.
Rep. Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, announced his campaign for the second-highest executive post at the state capitol on Thursday.
“I’m the only candidate in the race who has tested and trusted experience in getting things done for Idaho. I come from a legacy of hard work, of never quitting until the job was done,” Bedke said. “This is the legacy of hard work that I will bring to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.”
Bedke is the longest-serving Speaker of the House in state history, and has held the position since a successful challenge to then-Speaker Lawerence Denney in 2013. This is Bedke’s 11th term in the House, which makes him the second-longest serving current representative behind 12-term Rep. Mike Moyle.
Bedke named his top policy priorities as education, transportation and water issues. He highlighted advancements made in those areas during his tenure in the legislature, while simultaneously calling for additional investments in Idaho’s future.
“As we look back on my track record, I’ve got the experience and the results that will help Idaho going forward. I’m not doing this based on any personal agenda,” Bedke told Idaho Reports.
“At the same time we’re facing a bunch of problems in transportation, in education, in natural resources. Well, that’s where I’ve spent my legislative career, solving problems in those three areas and others,” Bedke said.
So far, other Republican candidates for lieutenant governor are Luke Malek, an attorney and former state representative from Coeur d’Alene who ran for Congress in 2018, and Priscilla Giddings, a third-term state representative from White Bird who has made a name for herself in the conservative wing of the House Republican caucus.
Before Bedke’s announcement, Giddings supporters with campaign signs and hand-written posters positioned themselves behind the podium. Bedke supporters with their own signs then joined the group in an effort to block them out.
“All you can expect from those you have to work with in politics is honesty, straight talk, and a willingness to take an opposite—but not an obstinate—position,” former governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said while introducing Bedke.
“Scott has always come to every meeting well prepared, [having] done his homework and ready to make a contribution,” said Otter. “Even if he may have some opposition, he’ll let you know that—and that’s what I expected, and that’s exactly what I got.”
When asked how he would work with the current gubernatorial candidates, Bedke acknowledged that the positions are elected separately and said he would respect the outcome of that race.
“I’m very comfortable with Brad Little and would endorse him when asked,” Bedke said.
During the campaign announcement, Bedke made it clear that he intends to finish his term as Speaker in 2022. He later told Idaho Reports that he doesn’t expect the primary race to have a big impact on the upcoming legislative session.
“There may be some that want to try to make it an issue. I don’t see it as being a conflict. There are very capable people there in the House of Representatives,” Bedke said. “I finish every job I start. I’ve started this one and I’m going to finish it.”
Watch the one-on-one interview with Bedke and the full campaign announcement here.