Idaho legislator Priscilla Giddings makes bid for lieutenant governor

Giddings has come under fire for posting the identity of the woman who accused a former legislator of rape

By: - May 21, 2021 2:53 pm
Idaho Reps. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, and Tammy Nichols, R-Middleton

Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird (left) and Rep. Tammy Nichols, R-Middleton, talk at the Idaho Capitol on April 6, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

Idaho State Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, announced Friday she plans to run for lieutenant governor, according to Idaho Reports and the Idaho Press.

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin this week announced a campaign for Idaho governor. Giddings said that without McGeachin in the lieutenant governor’s seat, Idaho would have “a vacancy in Idaho leadership which is critical to fill with a principled conservative,” according to Idaho Reports.

Giddings reportedly issued a news release that says her “conservative record is unmatched,” listing among her accomplishments a grocery tax repeal, legislation to restrict abortion rights and to loosen gun laws, and her role as co-chair of McGeachin’s task force on “indoctrination” in schools.

The Idaho Capital Sun did not receive the news release.

Idaho State Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird
Idaho State Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird (Courtesy of the Idaho Legislature)

Giddings on Thursday appointed a campaign treasurer, Doug Giddings, in preparation to run for the office, according to paperwork filed with the Idaho Secretary of State.

Giddings does not appear to have a campaign website and hasn’t issued a formal announcement on social media. Her Facebook page on Friday afternoon posted a link to a website, Idaho Dispatch, that published an item about her candidacy. “Onward and upward! Let’s do this Idaho,” Giddings’s post said.

Giddings did not immediately respond to text messages or email from the Sun.

The Republican lawmaker caused controversy during the 2021 legislative session.

Giddings at one point shared a blog post identifying a teen intern who accused former Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger of rape. Giddings also “scoffed and laughed” during a hearing into the accusations of the alleged victim, the Associated Press reported.

Giddings testified that she publicized the woman’s identity because “both sides of the story to be accurately represented … and if Rep. von Ehlinger’s name was going to be made public, I believe that everybody should be innocent until proven guilty and that both sides of the story need to be equally represented,” according to previous Idaho Capital Sun reporting.

In accordance with professional journalism ethics codes, news outlets generally don’t identify alleged victims of rape.

Groups have since called for Giddings’s resignation or ethics investigations into her conduct. The House ethics committee has not opened an investigation into any complaints against Giddings, as of this week, according to the committee’s response to a Sun public record request. Any complaints would be confidential unless or until the committee found there was “probable cause that such member has committed misconduct,” the Ethics and House Policy Committee secretary said via email.

Giddings is the second Republican to announce a campaign for the seat, now that McGeachin has announced her decision to run for the state’s top executive leadership post. Former Idaho State Rep. Luke Malek officially launched his campaign for lieutenant governor in November.

The primary election will take place in May 2022.

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Audrey Dutton
Audrey Dutton

Audrey Dutton, senior investigative reporter, joined the Idaho Capital Sun after 10 years at the Idaho Statesman. Her favorite topics to cover include health care, business, consumer protection issues and white collar crime. Dutton hails from Twin Falls. She attended college at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York City. Before coming home to Idaho, Dutton worked as a journalist in Minnesota, New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Dutton's work has earned dozens of state, regional and national awards for investigative reporting, health care and business reporting, radio journalism, data visualization and much more.

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