Idaho State Democratic Party Chairman Larry Kenck will step down due to health this week, halfway through his second two-year term, the party announced Tuesday.
Kenck, 67, of Post Falls, informed party leaders of his decision by email on May 23. His resignation is effective Friday. Vice Chairwoman Jeanne Buell will serve as acting chairwoman until the state committee selects a replacement on June 13.
“Sadly, health issues have come up that I must deal with,” Kenck wrote to party leaders. “The path we are on requires an active chairman that is not dealing with these issues. There is too much work and too many duties that need to be done, now.”
Kenck said Tuesday he came down with a treatable lung infection while traveling through southern and eastern Idaho on party business recently.
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“My doctors said it’s going to take awhile to get healed back up and get going,” he said.
Kenck was first elected state chairman in 2013. He twice ran for the state senate and has served as Kootenai County Democratic Party. He is a retired business agent for the Teamsters union representing North Idaho and eastern Washington and sits on the Idaho State Industrial Commission Advisory Board.
“Larry’s done a really good job for us, and certainly his connections have been good for us,” said Rep. John Rusche, of Lewiston, the Democratic House minority leader. “His skill set is going to be hard to replace.”
No potential successors have yet been named.
Republicans hold a 4-1 enrollment advantage over Democrats in Idaho and enrollment for both has increased by roughly the same percentage since November 2013. Unaffiliated voters nearly outnumber Republicans and Democrats combined.