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Candidate for Idaho's redistricting commission drops out due to recent lobbying work

"As such, it is clear that my registration this year makes me ineligible to serve," John Simpson said in a statement.

BOISE, Idaho — One appointed member of the commission which draws Idaho's congressional and legislative districts announced on Friday that he was taking himself out of consideration for the job. He said he made the decision after finding out his recent work as a registered lobbyist disqualified him from the position.

John Simpson dropped out after finding out that appointees to the commission had to be a year removed from any lobbying work. In a statement, he explained that he resigned in June and found out about the Idaho law during the interview process.

"As such, it is clear that my registration this year makes me ineligible to serve. While I'm disappointed, and must obviously remove my name from consideration thank you, Mr. Speaker for the opportunity," he said in a statement released by the Idaho House Republican Caucus.

Simpson was appointed to Idaho's Citizen Commission for Reapportionment, which is responsible for redrawing boundaries for congressional and legislative districts, by Idaho Speaker of the House Scott Bedke (R-Oakley) for the Idaho House Majority Caucus.

"I'm sorry I don't meet the eligibility requirements for this particular task, but I always stand ready to serve our great state," Simpson said.

According to its website, Simpson is a founding member of the law firm Barker Rosholt & Simpson LLP. His bio does not mention his resignation in June and the staff page still lists him as an active partner.

Simpson specializes in litigation concerning "ground and surface water, endangered species act, remediation of ground and surface water, adjudication of Native American water right issues and power generating facilities," according to his bio.

In a statement released on Thursday by Idaho GOP Chairman Tom Luna, the Speaker of the House said Simpson's background would help the board reach an agreement.

"We need the Commission to produce fair and legal results to move past the gridlock which has derailed this process for years," Bedke said.

Idaho's Citizen Commission for Reapportionment is a six-member board that oversees the redrawing of the Gem State's legislative and congressional districts based on the 2020 US Census. Three members of the board are appointed by Republicans and Idaho Democrats select the other three.

The commission is required by the Idaho Consitution.

On Thursday, Idaho Republicans announced their appointments, which also included Senator Bart Davis and former Republican Representative Eric Redman.

The appointments were made by Idaho Majority Senate Caucus, Majority House Caucus and the Idaho Republican Party, according to Luna's announcement.

Rep. Bedke will now have to appoint a new member to the redistricting board. According to the statement from the Republican Caucus, he is expected to make the announcement soon.

Idaho Democrats have yet to announce their appointments to Idaho's Citizen Commission for Reapportionment.

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