Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced Monday morning he’ll run for a sixth term as the state’s chief legal officer.

Wasden was first elected to the office in 2002. He is now the longest-serving AG in state history.

In a news release, Wasden said his primary role as AG is “calling legal balls and strikes fairly and squarely.”

“This has been my guiding principle from day one, and I believe in it as strongly as ever today,” he said. “An attorney general doesn’t provide their clients or their state any value by giving them the legal counsel they want to hear or that is politically convenient. Rather, my goal has always been to provide counsel that is soundly rooted in the rule of law.”

Wasden’s announcement comes less than a week after former Congressman Raul Labrador announced he’ll run for AG next year.

Labrador and Wasden will face off in the May 17 Republican primary. Coeur d’Alene attorney Art Macomber previously announced he’s also seeking the Republican nomination for the position.

Wasden first joined the Office of the Attorney General in 1989, when he served as the deputy AG assigned to the Idaho State Tax Commission. Before that, he served as a prosecutor in Canyon and Owyhee counties.

In other election news this weekend, former state Rep. Luke Malek announced Sunday he’s dropping out of the race for lieutenant governor and endorsing House Speaker Scott Bedke.

“To prevent extremism from gaining another foothold in Idaho politics, and out of respect for my longtime friend and fellow conservative candidate, Scott Bedke, stepping aside is the best decision I can make for Idaho right now,” Malek said in a news release.

The move leaves Bedke and Rep. Priscilla Giddings as the only Republicans in the race.

Giddings, R-White Bird, was censured by the Idaho House last week for conduct unbecoming a member of the Idaho House. She characterized the move as a political attack and remains wildly popular with the far right.

“More than ever, Idahoans must focus carefully on the character and qualifications of political candidates,” Malek said. “Extremist politics has divided our state. … (It) threatens everything Idahoans hold dear.”

Spence may be contacted at bspence@lmtribune.com or (208) 791-9168.

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