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State of the State address, 2018

Speak of the House Scott Bedke speaks with other legislators before the State of the State address Jan. 8 at the Capitol in Boise.

BOISE — Four conservative Republicans from Nampa are vying to run the show in Idaho’s Legislature as they compete for top positions in GOP leadership.

If the four lawmakers are successful in their bids, they will hold three of the four House leadership positions and one in the Senate. The Republican Party controls both the House and Senate, and these leaders will set the agenda and tone for the 2019 legislative session.

One of the biggest challenges is Assistant Majority Leader Brent Crane, Nampa, moving to unseat the more moderate House Speaker Scott Bedke, Oakley. Both have held their respective leadership positions since 2013.

Crane gave no early indication he was mounting a challenge, but confirmed his plans in a text Tuesday.

Bedke could not immediately be reached for comment.

Legislators will formally, and secretly, vote on their respective leaders during organizational meetings the first week of December.

How it plays out

The Senate and House each have seven leadership positions, four held by the majority party, Republicans, and three held by the minority party, Democrats.

All current members of Senate and House leadership on both sides won their respective races, so voters did not create vacancies to fill among leadership members.

But changes are definitely in store for House GOP leadership.

Of the four incumbents, two are seeking to move up, which means their two seats open up. Lawmakers confirmed the following leadership races to the Statesman:

▪ Bedke faces the previously mentioned challenge from Crane.

▪ Majority Leader Mike Moyle, Star, faces a challenge by Caucus Chairman John Vander Woude, Nampa.

▪ Two legislators are vying for Crane’s assistant majority leader seat: Terry Gestrin, Donnelly, and Jason Monks, Nampa.

▪ Three legislators are vying for Vander Woude’s caucus chair seat: Megan Blanksma, Hammett; Sage Dixon, Ponderay; and Dorothy Moon, Stanley.

The challenge to Bedke’s leadership comes after he offered an olive branch this year to the House’s more conservative lawmakers — allowing more of their bills to be printed and reach committee.

In the GOP Senate, just one position is being challenged: Sen. Todd Lakey, Nampa, is challenging Assistant Majority Leader Steve Vick, Dalton Gardens, for his position, according to Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill, Rexburg.

So far no changes are proposed nor are any positions being challenged for Democratic Senate and House leadership positions, said House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise.

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