The Republican Party’s Legislative District 33 Committee on Thursday picked three nominees as possible replacements for Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls.
Trujillo turned in her resignation Dec. 6 after being named to the Idaho Tax Commission. She’s the second member of District 33’s delegation to resign ahead of the 2018 legislative session. Former Sen. Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, turned in his resignation after he was named U.S. attorney.
Mark Fuller was also the committee’s top pick for that post, followed by Rep. Bryan Zollinger, R-Idaho Falls, and Tony Potts, a property manager and RV salesman.
In an unusual move, Otter skipped over the top two picks and appointed Potts.
Mark Fuller was again the committee’s top pick to replace Trujillo.
“He’s turned me down before, but let’s give him another chance,” he said.
Mark Fuller, chairman of the Bonneville County GOP Central Committee, said he is a “dyed-in-the-wool Republican” who strongly supports the party platform. He said he is concerned with what he sees as a lack of leadership in the Idaho Legislature.
The committee’s second pick was outgoing Idaho Falls City Councilwoman Barbara Ehardt, who didn’t run to retain her seat this year, instead challenging Mayor Rebecca Casper for her seat. Casper ultimately prevailed in a runoff election.
“I’m willing to stand on principle,” she told the committee.
Ehardt, known as the most conservative member of the nonpartisan city council, promised to “serve honorably” if picked by Otter.
“That’s what I’ve done for the last four years,” she said.
The final pick was Paul Fuller, Mark Fuller’s son and a member of his law firm.
Paul Fuller told the committee he was born and raised in Idaho Falls, graduating as the valedictorian of Hillcrest High School before going on to earn degrees in political science, economics, history, an MBA and a law degree. He said he was a strong supporter of the party platform.
Two others were nominated but not picked by the committee.
Outgoing Councilman David Smith, who recently lost a close election to challenger Shelly Smede, didn’t attend the District 33 meeting because it conflicted with city council meeting.
“My focus has been on making sure the city exercises fiscal restraint,” he said.
Shara Zollinger, Rep. Zollinger’s wife and a stay-at-home mother, was also nominated. She said she believes in the party platform, school choice and low taxes.
Otter will choose an appointee from among Mark Fuller, Ehardt and Paul Fuller. The appointee will serve for about a year, until a candidate is chosen in the 2018 election.
Reporter Bryan Clark can be reached at 208-542-6751.