BOISE — The Idaho Legislature’s Senate State Affairs Committee voted unanimously Monday in favor of upholding the Nov. 8 General Election victory of state Sen. Mark Nye, D-Pocatello.
In addition to Nye’s confirmation, the recommendation rejects a legal challenge of the election outcome by Nye’s legislative District 29 legislative opponent, Pocatello Republican Tom Katsilometes.
The leadership-packed Senate committee’s recommendation, approved 9-0, now goes to the full Idaho Senate.
But lawmakers including Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, maintained that a recent recount in the Senate race was valid in affirming that Nye was the winner and that possible violations of the Sunshine Law shouldn’t nullify Nye’s win.
“If a possible violation of Title 67, Chapter 66 would create grounds for a contested election, how many of us would be in trouble?” said Hill, who made the motion to confirm Nye. “Just go on to the secretary of state’s website and look at how many amended campaign disclosure reports are filed by how many members of this body, over time.”
Hill added: “We do make mistakes. There is a provision for correction those mistakes.”
Of the vote-counting issue?
“I find no indication that that should be an issue of concern,” Hill said.
Following the committee hearing, Nye described the legislative process conducted by his Senate colleagues as “very fair” and stated that he was “very impressed with how people looked into things, studied them.”
“I’m pleased that I can continue to serve as the senator for Pocatello and my state,” Nye said. “I’m very pleased (at) the way this matter was handled. And the claims of technical violations shouldn’t give rise to this sort of proceeding.
Katsilometes said the time restrictions of the legislative process hindered his case.
“It would have been nice to be able to present all of the facts in the case,” Katsilometes said. “But we weren’t able to do so with a 20-minute presentation allotment.”