The Republican governor of Idaho said Thursday he plans to file a brief lawsuit asking the US Supreme Court to invalidate the results of presidential elections in four swing states. On the same day, the Republican attorney general said he would not support the effort.
“Idaho’s elections are safe and secure, and we expect the same from other states,” Governor Brad Little said in a statement. “Protecting the sanctity of the voting process is paramount to ensuring a strong democratic process and our citizens need confidence that their vote counts.”
In contrast, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden issued a statement Thursday saying that while his decision may not be “politically favorable”, he believed it was legally correct and “necessary to protect Idaho’s sovereignty”.
“As the attorney general, I have serious concerns about supporting a legal argument that could lead other states to challenge legal decisions made by the Idaho legislature and governor,” he said. “Idaho is a sovereign state and should be free to govern itself without any interference from any other state. Idaho should also respect the sovereignty of its sister states.”
This makes Wasden unique about Republican attorney general, 18 of whom signed the suit led by Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general. It also puts Wasden on the other side of many prominent Idaho Republicans – not just Little, but the House Republican leadership who asked Wasden to join the case, and both members of the U.S. Idaho House, 18 GOP lawmakers, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin and the state Republican Party, who all signed court records in support of Paxton’s case.
“Idaho citizens will be adversely affected if national elections are held in other states outside of constitutional limits,” said Scott Bedke, State House spokesman, R-Oakley; Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star; Deputy Majority Leader Jason Monks, R-Nampa; and caucus chairman Megan Blanksma, R-Hammett, wrote a letter to Wasden on Wednesday. “The integrity of our national electoral system and the trust of its citizens in it are central to our system of government. Unless your research shows Idaho is legally or constitutionally prohibited from joining Texas’ motion, we believe Idaho should join Texas and the other states in the case. “
While Republican President Donald Trump easily carried Idaho with 64% of the vote, National Democrat Joe Biden won 306 votes to Trump’s 232 and leads the national referendum with more than 7 million votes. Paxton’s lawsuit challenges 62 votes from Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Georgia, all of the swing states Biden won. Trump has continued to claim he won the election and has so far unsuccessfully questioned the results in several states.
On Thursday, US Reps. Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher, both R-Idaho, signed a brief report on Paxton’s position along with another 104 of their Republicans. McGeachin signed a separate letter asking to join the case with 38 senators and officials from Alaska, Arizona and Idaho, including local officials Ron Nate, R-Rexburg. Karey Hanks, R-St. Anthony; Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley; and Terry Gestrin, R-Donnelly. The file states that they all “have a critical interest in ensuring that voters from sister states represent the real and honest voice of those sister states so that an illegal election does not take place and the voice of the state they represent does not occur “.
Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757. Follow him on Twitter: @NateBrownNews.