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Northern Idaho senator announces run for secretary of state

March 31, 2021 GMT

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) — A four-term northern Idaho Republican senator says she will run to become Idaho’s secretary of state.

Sen. Mary Souza of Coeur d’Alene said Tuesday she’s been interested in the job for more than a decade.

“It’s really been a fascination of mine,” she told the Coeur d’Alene Press. “I’ve carried a lot of bills having to do with elections.”

In a statement, she said she had concerns about last November’s election.

“In the wake of last year’s tumultuous election, it’s clear that to preserve voters’ faith and trust in our democratic process, we must safeguard election integrity,” she said. “That goal will be my lodestar as Idaho’s Secretary of State.”

President Donald Trump and his allies in the aftermath of Trump’s election loss to Joe Biden made misleading, false and bizarre claims that helped spur on rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a violent siege that left five people dead, including a police officer. The siege led to Trump’s historic second impeachment.

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Election officials in Idaho have said the November election in the state was one of the most secure on record.

“I’m certainly not going to disagree with the clerks, but the clerks have brought forward concerns and procedures, and I think we owe it to the citizens of Idaho to make sure our elections are as secure as possible,” Souza said.

Souza in the news release also said she’s concerned that liberal technology companies could manipulate election outcomes.

In Idaho, the secretary of state is responsible for helping run the state’s elections. The office also deals with licensing businesses and maintaining official documents.

Republican Secretary of State Lawerence Denney has indicated he’s unlikely to run in the 2022 election.

“I’ve had my eye on running for this position when (Denney) retired,” Souza said. “It certainly wasn’t made on one particular issue.”

Republican Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane has previously announced he’s running for the office.