- Associated Press - Thursday, March 10, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The chief justice of the Idaho Supreme Court says he won’t run for re-election because a qualified candidate has expressed interest in the seat.

Chief Justice Jim Jones said Wednesday he won’t seek a third six-year term.

The 73-year-old Jones told the Spokesman-Review (https://bit.ly/1SD2SiU ) that he was torn about whether to run again and decided not to pursue the seat if a qualified candidate emerged.

Jones can’t endorse a candidate as chief justice but says Clive Strong, who works in the state attorney general’s office, is “certainly qualified.”

“If nobody had stepped forward I would have run for re-election and served the full six years. I think I’m physically and mentally capable of doing that,” Jones said. “But since my criteria were met, I think, well, there are a lot of other things I can do.”

Strong has been with the office for 33 years and currently services as chief of the Natural Resources Division. He was the lead attorney on a 27-year case involving Snake River water rights and has argued two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Strong was recognized as the environment, energy and resources government attorney of the year by the American Bar Association in 2014.

Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke, former Democratic Gov. Cecil Andrus and former Republican Gov. Dirk Kempthorne have endorsed Strong for the court seat.

William Breck Seiniger, Jr., an attorney from Boise, is also running for the court seat.

The deadline to file for Idaho’s May 17 election is Friday.


Information from: The Spokesman-Review, https://www.spokesman.com

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