TWIN FALLS • Mark Guerry, a Republican challenger for Twin Falls County prosecutor, has dropped out of the race after District Judge Richard Bevan lodged a complaint against Guerry with the state bar association.
Guerry announced his withdrawal without explanation Friday afternoon in an email to the Times-News about 90 minutes after leaving a meeting with the newspaper’s editorial board. He later told the newspaper about Bevan’s complaint in a separate email to the paper.
Bevan’s complaint hinges on accusations Guerry posted on Facebook earlier this month about the judge and Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs.
“I understand bar proceeding to be confidential,” Bevan said. “Therefore I can’t comment.”
Pressed about the accusations at the Times-News editorial board meeting Friday morning, Guerry said he had no proof the accusations were true and that the postings were made in the “fog of war” of the campaign. He said he probably shouldn’t have posted the accusations.
“It’s probably not a wise thing to do,” Guerry told the newspaper board. “It’s probably not a fair thing to do.”
In the interview, Guerry described several run-ins with Bevan when the judge was presiding over cases handled by Guerry.
Later in the interview, talking about the Facebook accusations, he said, “My goal was not to attack Judge Bevan personally, as much as it may sound like that.”
Still, Guerry said he intends to fight Bevan’s complaint and said in a Facebook post he must respond within three weeks.
“I intend to fully defend myself against this complaint since I believe this is a First Amendment, free speech issue,” Guerry wrote in his email to the paper clarifying his withdrawal from the campaign. “However, I must now turn my entire attention to my defense, which will prevent me from effectively campaigning for the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney and I therefore have withdrawn from the race.”
Loebs said he hadn’t heard from Guerry about the decision and declined to comment further.
Ballots for May’s Republican primary election have already been printed, so Guerry’s name will still appear on the ballot, the county recorder’s office said.
Guerry, a Castleford resident, formally announced his candidacy in March. He previously worked for Loebs as a deputy prosecutor but has spent the bulk of his career in private practice.