Prosecutor Ron Twilegar resigned his Boise County post last month to wage a long-shot campaign against veteran Ada County GOP Prosecutor Greg Bower.
With five months left on Twilegars term, the Boise County Democratic Central Committee had the power to nominate a successor to the county commissioners. Rather than be loyal to party, Democrats suggested Ian Gee, a Republican lawyer from Garden Valley.
Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa said he couldn't recall an instance when a party nominated a rival. But Ysursa said Gee was the pragmatic choice because he is the only candidate for the job on the November ballot.
In a letter to Commission Chairman Bob Fry, Boise County Democratic Chairwoman Rebecca Wiegand urged the commissioners to pick Gee, putting Democrat Robert Wallace second.
As a Party Central Committee we of course considered submitting names of only attorneys identified as Democrats, Wiegand wrote. After lengthy discussions with all counsel involved it appears that filling the position with a qualified, presumptive incumbent will eliminate needless transition and establish the reforms already planned by Mr. Gee.
The commission appointed Gee, who has been sworn in along with Chief Deputy Jay Rosenthal, a former deputy attorney general.
Twilegar resigned after Boise County settled a libel and malicious prosecution lawsuit brought by former Commissioner Fred Lawson over Twilegars effort to prosecute Lawson after Lawson left office. The settlement included an apology and an $80,000 payment. Earlier, an attorney generals investigation found that Twilegar likely never lived in Boise County.
Twilegar is a former Idaho Senate Democratic leader from Boise who hadnt practiced law in 26 years when he went shopping for counties where he would be the only candidate for prosecutor. He filed for election in Camas and Boise counties on the same day in March 2008.
Dan Popkey: 377-6438, Twitter: @IDS_politics