Steve Yates announced Monday that he will step down April 24 after serving about half of his second term as state party chairman.
Yates said he is considering running for Idaho lieutenant governor in 2018 but is still considering his options. Incumbent Brad Little of Emmett, who has served as lieutenant governor since 2009, has announced he will run for governor. Gov. Butch Otter earlier announced he will not seek a fourth term.
“I’m giving serious consideration to a run for that office,” Yates said.
Three others have filed to run for that job: state Sen. Marv Hagedorn of Meridian, Rep. Kelley Packer of McCammon and former Rep. Janice McGeachin of Idaho Falls.
Yates, who has served as party chairman since 2014, said he never planned to run for a third two-year term. He has long opposed the party electing its chairman during an election year, so he said he wants his successor to take over before the 2018 primary and general elections.
The state Republican Central Committee will select a new chair during the party’s summer meeting on July 22 in Coeur d’Alene. Mike Mathews, the party’s first vice chairman, will serve as acting chairman until then.
Yates said some of his supporters came to him in February or March and asked him to consider a run for lieutenant governor or other office.
An Idaho Falls businessman, Yates lost to Rep. Jeff Thompson in the May 2014 GOP primary by 108 votes.
Yates said he plans to continue to help the party raise money for political races and to help with other projects. He said he will announce his future plans in the coming months.
Yates’ departure means changes to two of the party’s top leadership positions. Executive Director David Johnston previously announced he is leaving that job as well and is considering several options for his future.
On Friday, Yates announced that Lyndel Strong will become state party executive director on April 17. Strong, 26, previously served as a volunteer with the Idaho Republican Party and served as chairman for the Idaho Young Republicans.