The announcement came late in the day Nov. 8, just in time to launch a weekend-full of political posturing. Ben Ysursa released a statement saying he was prepared to to relinquish his 12-year grip on the office of Idaho Secretary of State at the end of 2014. In fact, one of Ysursa's last bits of business next year will be to oversee the Gem State's interests at a 40th anniversary jump over the Snake River Canyon. Ysursa had just joined the Secretary of State's office as a legal assistant in 1974, when the first jump occurred.
"Let me think now; I really need to refresh my memory," Ysursa told Boise Weekly when we recently sat down to talk about daredevil "Big" Ed Beckley's proposal to jump the Snake River 40 years after Evel Knievel's ill-fated jump. "I do remember Knievel and his people coming around, telling us that they wanted to jump the canyon."
Ysursa would eventually win the public's confidence by being elected and re-elected to become Idaho Secretary of State. His elections were landslides. Over the years, he held sway over some of the most important challenges put before the Idaho Statehouse, including redistricting, closed primaries and key decisions as a voting member of the Idaho Land Board.
"After careful thought and deliberation, I have decided not to seek re-election as Secretary of State," wrote the 64-year-old Ysursa. "It has been a distinct honor and privilege to serve the great people of the State of Idaho."
Midvale Republican Rep. Lawerence Denney has already announced his intention to run for Ysursa's job. But Denney will need to clear the May GOP primary first. Other rumored Republican rivals are former Boise Republican Sen. Mitch Toryanski and Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane.