This story was published in the Oct. 7, 1929, edition of the Lewiston Tribune.


Confirmation of the long talked report that Byron Defenbach, Lewiston, state treasurer, will be a candidate for the republican nomination as the next governor of Idaho was given in Idaho Falls Friday by Phil Stalker, Defenbach’s chief deputy.

Formal announcement of Defenbach’s candidacy will depend on the supreme court’s interpretation of the four-year term amendment to the state constitution, according to the Idaho Falls Times-Register. If the court decides that the present state officers are entitled to a four-year term the announcement will be deferred. If the court rules that the present term will run but for two years “the formal announcement of Mr. Defenbach and others now talked of and prospective candidates may be expected,” The Times-Register says.

Defenbach, serving his second term as state treasurer, has been conducting a well-planned and unusual preliminary campaign, according to the recognition given it by political writers.

Appeals to People.

He has not always been in harmony with the republican “machine” in Idaho and his preliminary campaigning has been of an independent nature. Through an Idaho historical column which ran for a year in the weekly and smaller daily papers of the state Defenbach has kept his name before the people of Idaho. The sometimes pointed criticism of various phases of the state administration of which he is a part had led southern Idaho political writers to class him in the “lone wolf” role as a seeker for the governorship. Cato the Censor, political writer of the Idaho Statesman, recently described him as having “burned his bridges behind him, girded on his sword and shield, and plunged gayly into as hazardous a conflict as Idaho politics affords — a hand-to-hand engagement with the organization for the armor of Achilles.”

Defenbach’s main strength would naturally come from northern Idaho, but he might also count on support from Bannock county in southeastern Idaho, according to Cato. One reason cited is that Phil Stalker, Defenbach’s deputy, is a Pocatello man “not without influence in Bannock county.”

May Get Bannock.

Another is a possible political “deal” which the Boise writer hazards as follows: “Assuming that Bannock county had a candidate for somethimng on the state ticket (and Bannock county always has) the shrewd way to play would be to make a deal not with one of the leading candidates, but with a man apparently in the ruck, so that when events clarify more than at present a switch could profitably be arranged, or if the original dark horse develops unexpected strength, there would of course be far more gratitude in putting him over than in supporting someone who was more assured of his position.”

Mr. Defenbach, in his visits to Lewiston, has neither denied nor affirmed that he would ask the next republican nomination for the governorship.

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