MERIDIAN -- Conservative Republican Sen. Shirley McKague has decided not to seek re-election.

The Meridian senator began her eight legislative terms in 1997.

Her decision announced Tuesday helps avoid an incumbent battle with Sen. Chuck Winder, a Boise Republican. They were placed in the same district by the most recent redistricting maps.

McKague said she endorses Winder.

McKague was a reliable conservative who moved from the state House of Representatives to the Senate in 2007 to fill former Sen. Gerry Sweet's vacant seat.

Her political vision was informed by involvement in the 1970s with the anti-communist John Birch Society.

McKague says she plans to enjoy retirement with her husband but aims to serve until December.

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