- Associated Press - Monday, August 11, 2014

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A former GOP candidate for Idaho’s superintendent of schools was not endorsing Republican nominee Sherri Ybarra despite previously being listed as a campaign committee member on her website.

Ybarra said she spoke to Randy Jensen soon after beating him in the May primary election and asked for his support, which she took as an endorsement. The two had plans to attend an upcoming event in southeast Idaho, Ybarra said, but Jensen called Monday to tell her that he could not attend and would not endorse her.

Instead, Jensen said he wants to remain politically neutral, adding that he likes both Ybarra and Democratic nominee Jana Jones.

“As a school administrator, you’re going to have to work with either candidate, so I don’t feel I should endorse anyone at this point,” said Jensen, an American Falls principal. “I am waiting to see what the candidates have to offer in the next three months, but I probably won’t endorse anyone.”

Ybarra ran against Jensen and two other candidates in the GOP primary. In a surprising victory, Ybarra won, and Jensen came in second. As a political newcomer, Ybarra’s campaign has received increased scrutiny from both political parties, who question if she can successfully win the November election, even in a predominantly Republican state.

When asked if she felt Jensen was retracting his endorsement, Ybarra said, “I can only go off what he said this morning. He said he supported me but he would not endorse me.”

Jensen’s name has since been removed from the website. He said Ybarra asked him to attend the campaign event, but the last time he talked to her before that was in early June.

“We talked about the event last week but that was the only time she asked me to help her with the campaign,” Jensen said.

The remaining names on Ybarra’s campaign committee are former Idaho Republican Party staffer Mary Tipps, listed as campaign manager, and Robynn Schipani, identified as treasurer. State Sen. Shawn Keough of Sandpoint and U.S. Sen. Jim Risch’s campaign manager, Melinda Smyser, are also on the campaign team but without titles. Both told The Associated Press on Monday that they are helping any way they can.

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