Secretary of State Ben Ysursa said Friday that he will not seek re-election next year after 12 years as the state's chief elections officer and 40 years in the office.
Ysursa's announcement came shortly after 3 p.m. Friday.
It clears the way for former House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, who has already began campaigning for the job. He's said he'd focus on voter fraud and getting the Idaho Land Board out of the commercial real estate business.
Chief Deputy Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane and former Sen. Mitch Toryanski, R-Boise, also have expressed interest in the race.
Ysursa's statement follows:
"After careful thought and deliberation, I have decided not to seek re-election as Secretary of State, and will retire from public office at the completion of my third term in January 2015. It has been a distinct honor and privilege to serve the great people of the State of Idaho as Secretary of State and as Deputy Secretary of State for the last four decades but it is time to step down.
"I would note that my term does not end until 2015 and there are many important issues to face in 2014 pertaining to elections and Land Board issues, which will be the focus of my attention. My office has a tradition of fairness, efficiency, and service which will continue throughout the rest of my term.
"I again thank the people of Idaho for having afforded me the privilege and opportunity to serve them as Secretary of State."