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At some risk of invoking a political Heisenberg principle – creating a bounce against what I’m recommending – here’s a suggestion for how Idaho House Republicans might usefully deal with the opening in their ranks occasioned by the announced resignation of Representative Mark Patterson.

Patterson is the figure of recent controversy who became so in part because so few Idahoans had known much about his background. They knew, when voters elected him to the House, that he was a small businessman at Meridian. They did not much else, that pieces of his stated biography were false, that large gaps existed in his resume, and that he had been charged with rape and attempted rape years before (albeit, not convicted). What the Idaho Republicans didn’t know about him wound up generating all kinds of controversy they would rather have done without.

This week, Patterson was slated to send in his resignation, and now District 15 Republicans, with Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, will have to fill the spot.

We don’t yet know all the names up for consideration, but at least one logical prospect has thrown his name in.

I’d note up front that I have known Chuck Malloy a good many years from the time we both were political reporters for Idaho newspapers. (Just recently, until yet another round of layoffs, he was an editorial writer at the Idaho Statesman.) An Idaho native who has spent most of his life in the Gem State, he’s a thoroughly known quantity. And that cuts in both directions: He knows the state quite well, having written a good deal about it.

As a matter of politics, he would be a fully rational choice. Malloy spent years as communications director for the Idaho House Republicans, and was comfortable in the role. He knows the people at the legislature and the issues, the stands House Republicans take and how to express support for them. He probably would fit comfortably into the caucus.

He said he would not want to run for the job next year, which would allow for an open contest which might allow for a more careful vetting than was given Patterson.

If the matter of serious vetting is a consideration here – as it should be – Malloy’s already past that point. In the case of a legislative session starting not much more than a couple of weeks hence, this would be an appointment that would solve an array of problems all at once.

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Idaho