House Speaker Bedke announces run for lieutenant governor in 2022

State Rep. Priscilla Giddings and former Rep. Luke Malek have also announced they will run for the position

By: - May 27, 2021 10:10 am
House Speaker Scott Bedke

House Speaker Scott Bedke at his campaign announcement event in 2021. Bedke, a Republican from Oakley, is the longest serving House speaker in Idaho history. (Clark Corbin/Idaho Capital Sun)

Idaho Speaker of the House Scott Bedke announced Thursday morning he will run for lieutenant governor in 2022, shaking up an already competitive race for second-highest statewide office.

Bedke, a rancher from Oakley, is the longest serving speaker in Idaho history. Members of the House of Representatives elected him speaker in December 2012, ahead of the 2013 legislative session. 

Former Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter announced Bedke will seek the position at the Idaho Statehouse. Otter and his wife, Lori, will serve as Bedke’s state campaign chairs.

The speaker is a lionized leadership position that enjoys considerable influence in the Legislature. The speaker has influence over all House members committee assignments, presides over the daily floor sessions and plays an influential role in driving the agenda of each session.

Overall, Bedke is in his 11th, two-year term in the Idaho House.

Butch Otter
Former Idaho Gov. Butch Otter spoke at the announcement of House Speaker Scott Bedke, who will make a run for lieutenant governor in 2022.

Bedke will run in the May 2022 Republican primary. State Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, and former Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, have also announced they will run for lieutenant governor in 2022.

Supporters of Giddings, who has come under fire for posting identifying information of a legislative staffer who accused former Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger of rape, also showed up to the announcement and jostled for position in the Capitol’s rotunda to hold up signs of support. As Bedke took the podium, Giddings’ supporters crowded closer —even though there were several young children and members of Bedke’s family in the area — and pushed their signs in front of some of Bedke’s supporters in an attempt to upstage his announcement.

In an interview with the Idaho Capital Sun moments after his announcement, Bedke said there will be a lot of talk in this race over the next year, but he pledges to deliver results.

Bedke said he is committed to finishing his term in the Legislature and serving as speaker during the 2022 legislative session. His term in the Legislature expires at the end of 2022.

The official candidate filing period does not open until February, about 12 weeks before the May 17 primary. The winner of the primary will advance to the November 2022 general election. 

Born in Twin Falls, Bedke is a graduate of Oakley High School who holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Brigham Young University. 

Bedke is a former president of the Idaho Cattle Association, a powerful trade organization that is more than 100 years old and has seen its past and current members ascend to the highest levels of political office in Idaho.  

Bedke and his wife, Sarah, have four children. 

What are the responsibilities of the lieutenant governor?

The lieutenant governor is essentially a part-time position that pays $48,405, or 35% of the governor’s annual salary. 

The term runs for four years, and there are basically two official responsibilities. 

The lieutenant governor presides over the Idaho Senate when the Legislature is in session but may only vote to break a tie. 

The lieutenant governor also serves as acting governor while the governor is out of state, which occurs frequently. In the event of a governor’s death, impeachment, removal from office, resignation or conviction for treason, felony “or other infamous crime,” the lieutenant governor would receive the governor’s “powers, duties and emoluments from the office,” for the remainder of the term, according to the Idaho Constitution. 

Unlike the president and vice president at the national level, the governor and lieutenant governor do not run as a ticket in Idaho. 

Despite the part time nature of the job, it’s viewed as a springboard for higher office. 

Gov. Brad Little served as lieutenant governor for 10 years before being elected governor. Former Gov. Butch Otter also served as lieutenant governor before being elected to Congress and being elected governor. 

U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, served as lieutenant governor before being appointed governor and eventually going on to run for the U.S. Senate. 

Current Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin has announced she is running for governor in 2022. 

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Clark Corbin
Clark Corbin

Clark Corbin has more than a decade of experience covering Idaho government and politics. He has covered every Idaho legislative session since 2011 gavel-to-gavel. Prior to joining the Idaho Capital Sun he reported for the Idaho Falls Post Register and Idaho Education News. His reporting in Idaho has helped uncover a multimillion-dollar investment scam and exposed inaccurate data that school districts submitted to the state.