Idaho state Sen. Dan Johnson of Lewiston confirmed Wednesday that he plans to run for Senate president pro tem during the coming Senate leadership elections. His decision was spurred on by the coming retirement of Sen. Brent Hill of Rexburg, the longest serving pro tem in state history. The president pro tem serves as head of the Senate majority caucus and is regularly involved in discussions and negotiations with the governor, House leadership and Senate minority leadership during the legislative session. The pro tem also fills in as president of the Senate when the lieutenant governor is absent, serves as acting governor when the governor and lieutenant governor are out of state and, together with the majority leader, hands out committee assignments — including chairmanships — to senators after each general election.
Johnson was elected to a sixth term in the Senate earlier this month. He was unopposed in the primary and general election, but won’t be unopposed in his bid for leadership. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Winder, R-Boise, has also indicated he plans to run for the top spot. The last senator from north central Idaho to serve as president pro tem was Sen. William Moore of Latah County, who was elected back in 1953, and only served a month in that position. (Lewiston Tribune)