TWIN FALLS • Two names will appear on the ballot for Twin Falls County prosecuting attorney, but only one of those men is campaigning for the position while the other has admitted his campaign is as much a protest as it is a serious challenge.
Grant Loebs, the county prosecutor since his appointment in 1997, has won five elections since 1998 and is running for re-election again this year. His campaign has been straightforward and banks on his extensive political and legal background, including nearly 19 years as Twin Falls County prosecutor and 23 years total in the county prosecutor’s office.
Before that, Loebs worked for a decade in Washington, D.C., as a legislative assistant to a U.S. senator and a special assistant to the assistant secretary of defense. All the while, the 55-year-old has worked on Republican presidential campaigns, served as president of the Idaho Prosecuting Attorneys Association and served on or worked for dozens of other political campaigns and committees.
Loebs’ official re-election Facebook page features endorsements from Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, former Twin Falls Police Chief Lee DeVore and the Twin Falls Fraternal Order of Police, among others.
It’s a far cry from the unusual campaign of Loebs’ challenger, Mark Guerry, who dropped out of the race for three days in April and then got back in the race while announcing he wouldn’t be speaking to the media or the public.
Guerry, who once worked for Loebs, also used his Facebook page to post personal attacks and thinly veiled threats against Loebs and outright accusations of misconduct against Loebs and District Judge Richard Bevan.
Guerry later admitted he had no proof the accusations were true and said the postings were made in the “fog of war” of the campaign. He said posting the accusations was “probably not a wise thing to do” and “probably not a fair thing to do.”
Bevan, accused by Guerry of covering up crimes committed by Loebs, answered the allegations by saying he’s never intervened on behalf of anybody.
“I categorically deny the accusations,” Bevan said.
Those accusations led to a complaint against Guerry with the Idaho Bar Association. Guerry said it was Bevan who filed the complaint, while Bevan said he couldn’t comment because bar proceedings are confidential. The day he received the complaint, Guerry said he was withdrawing from the race to focus on defending himself.
“It is not fair to the voters for me to remain in a campaign in which I am less than 100-percent engaged,” Guerry wrote in an email.
That was on a Friday. By the next Tuesday, Guerry changed his mind and re-entered the race. But he announced that while he was back in, he wouldn’t be speaking to the media “or the public at large” and that he wanted to present voters a chance to protest Loebs.
“I have many of my supporters who still wanted an opportunity to vote for me, even if it’s simply a protest vote,” Guerry said in a voicemail to the newspaper. “So I am back in.”