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Op-Ed: The Pros and Consequences of Chuck Winder’s Loss

By • May 26, 2024

For the first time in Idaho history, a sitting Senate President Pro Tempore* was ousted in a primary. His victorious challenger: Josh Keyser. For the past several years, many people have opined that if Chuck Winder could not act and vote in alignment with the state’s Republican Party Platform, then it was time for him to retire.

On May 21, Mr. Winder did not need to make that decision. The voters made it for him.

The day after the election, Winder appeared on KTVB in Boise to discuss his loss. Here are some of the reasons he provided:

  • There was no presidential race on the ballot, so many voters stayed home.
    -NOTE: Winder was a driving force behind removing the presidential primary in Idaho. Call it karma.
  • His opponent (Josh Keyser) was out knocking on doors while the legislature was still in session
    -NOTE: This was true for all incumbents – even the ones who won re-election.
  • Winder was accused of being a “big spender,” and once that projection was out there it was tough to get that out of people’s minds.
    -NOTE: Winder’s voting record has always been public and he has regularly received an “F” rating on spending. In 2022 his spending rating was 6/10 of a percentage point different from Senate’s Democrat minority leader.
  • “They” picked Winder off using “really ugly, dirty politics in their promotions.”
    -NOTE: Facts are facts, and facts might expose how ones actions are not appealing to Idaho voters. Winder provides no examples of the “really ugly, dirty politics” he claims were used to oust him.

Pros of Winder Leaving

Many positives emerge with Chuck Winder’s departure. Here are just a few likely benefits:

1. More House Bills Might Get Heard
It’s long been discussed in the halls of the statehouse that Idaho’s Senate served as the governor’s arm in the legislature. After all, it’s easier for a governor to influence and control 18 senators (out of 35) instead of 36 representatives (out of 70.)

As leader of the Senate, Chuck Winder decided who would serve on which committees and who would serve as the chair and vice chair of each committee. That was his right as President Pro Tem.

Privately, legislators said Winder served the governor more than he served the people of Idaho, and that he often influenced committee chairs to stick bills in drawers so they didn’t get debated or voted on. Publicly, Winder denied that happened, but privately, legislators said it happened all the time.

Winder all but tipped his hand regarding this practice in March of 2022, when he publicly said, “There are a lot of bills, more so than normal, that are in drawers on our side of the building. I think most of them will stay there, so I don’t think you’ll see some of the craziness that the House seems to like to do get very far in the Senate.”

2. The Will of the People Might Get Respected
On multiple occasions, Winder referred to bills passed by Idaho’s House of Representatives as “crazy.” It would have been nice for Winder to remember that members of the House of Representatives are elected by the people of Idaho to represent their views. With that, if a majority of House members vote a certain way, those votes are said to indicate the will of the people.

Winder said it was craziness for Idahoans to not want certain books to be freely accessible to children of all ages in libraries – books that contain graphic illustrations of teens pleasuring each other. This shows that Winder was out of touch with the people of Idaho. The decent people of Idaho deserve respect – not to be referred to as crazy.

Winder is said to lead a Bible study. One question for Mr. Winder might be, “Which version of the Bible would imply it’s good for young children to have free and ready access to view graphic images of teens pleasuring each other?”

3. Transparency in Government Might Increase
A recent article in the Idaho Tribune outlined a likely conflict of interest that involved Chuck Winder. In short, after the state’s Transportation Department moved its operations, the state was sitting on prime real estate on State Street in Boise. How that property was defined and valued by the state veered far from normal.

The manner in which this property was being sold raised many red flags in the state’s House of Representatives, so they voted 70-0 (which almost never happens) to create a review process. However, the State Affairs Committee stuck that bill in a drawer. Chuck Winder was on the senate State Affair Committee. Also, before he was in the senate, Winder was chairman of the Idaho Transportation Board.

Coincidently, Mr. Winder makes his living as a commercial real estate professional.

After the original bill was drawered, multiple bills were then created, and Winder argued against them, even saying “I will die on this hill.” Although tens of millions of dollars were at play in this real estate issue, Winder never declared a potential conflict of interest, even though Senate Rules state his work as a real estate professional required such a statement.

(Side note: With Winder’s ouster, perhaps his words, “I will die on this hill,” were prophetic.)

Consequences of Winder Being Gone

People hear the word “consequences” and usually think if the word means something negative. Not true. The word simply means the ripple effects of a particular action or condition. Ripple effects can be positive, negative, or neutral.


The obvious consequence of Winder’s departure is that someone else will be chosen to be Senate President Pro Tem. That means someone else will be choosing committee chairs and vice chairs, deciding which senators will serve on which committees, and determining which legislation gets prioritized.

As Pro Tem, Winder also facilitated Republican caucus meetings. One Senator who wanted to remain anonymous informed this writer that with Winder gone, caucus meetings are likely to be more enjoyable. “Winder did a lot of browbeating to keep people in line,” was one comment provided. “Chairmen will now be freer to act like chairs instead of puppets for Winder.”

That is, providing the next Pro Tem is not a control freak.


Earlier it was mentioned that Winder was voted out in part for being a big spender, regularly voting for bills that spend more of the taxpayer’s money. With that said, what follows is interesting.

As soon as it was announced that Winder was ousted, Senator C. Scott Grow (Dist 14) announced he was throwing his hat in the ring to be the next President Pro Tem. Others have suggested Senator Kelly Anthon (Dist 27) is “next in line,” since he’s been the Senate Majority Leader the past few years.

Since past results are the best indictors of future performance, the Idaho Senate should beware. Let’s start by looking at Chuck Winder’s spending score, published by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, based by his voting record:

Winder’s 2024 spending score: 22.9.

Anything below a 60 is considered an “F” (failing) score.

Now let’s look at the spending scores of the Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Melissia Wintrow (Dist 19) and that of the Democrat House Minority Leader, Ilana Rubel (Dist 18).

Wintrow’s 2024 spending score: 13.0

Rubel’s 2024 spending score: 15.2

Over the years, it has become common knowledge that Democrats have no problem spending the taxpayers’ money. The “Republican” Winder scored a 22.9, but our state’s Democrat leaders validate the Democrats’ “big spender” reputation by scoring 13 and 15.2.

Winder’s rating of 22.9 is embarrassing, and the Democrats’ ratings of 13 and 15.2 are pretty bad, but let’s look at the 2024 spending scores for C. Scott Grow and Kelly Anthon:

Grow’s 2024 spending score: 11.3

Anthon’s 2024 spending score: 10.3

Yes, you read that right. The two senators currently being discussed to replace Chuck Winder as Senate President Pro Tem are bigger spenders than the Democrat leaders in both the Senate and the House.

Our Senators Must Choose Wisely

Spending in Idaho’s government has gone up 54% over the past four years. Where does our government get that money? Has your income increased that much in the past four years?

Remember; the Senate President Pro Tem sets the Senate’s agenda. Can Idaho afford a Senate leader who is more addicted to spending than Chuck Winder?

Bottom line, a substantial change will occur in the Idaho Statehouse come January of 2025. Some things are likely to be better. Other things could be substantially worse. Time will tell.


*Idaho’s Lt. Governor is technically the President of the Senate. “Pro Tempore” is Latin, meaning, “for the time being” or “temporary.” The Senate President Pro Tempore (often stated “Pro Tem) is chosen by the Senators to oversee the operation of the Senate when the Lt. Governor is absent. The Pro Tem is recognized as the senior-ranking member of the Senate, even over the Senate Majority Leader.


This Op-Ed was submitted by Daniel Bobinski and originally published on Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.

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Tags: Chuck Winder, Cons, Idaho Senate, Josh Keyser, Kelly Anthon, Pro Tempore, Pros, Scott Grow

19 thoughts on “Op-Ed: The Pros and Consequences of Chuck Winder’s Loss

  1. With new and some current legislators I pray to God someone will get these chemtrails outlawed in Idaho. Tennessee and 5 other states have already done this. They are spraying aluminum Oxide, barium and Strathum. All are poisonous.

    1. Bring this up to your local representatives then others if you get shunned. I too think its past time to address.

  2. Voting power hungry, bully Democrat (pretending to be a Republican) Chuck Winder out of office was a good start. Sorry, if you vote to spend that much of the people money you are a democrat no matter what you decide to call yourself. It was a sad day for the big developers who would love to build large apartment complexes on every open space, of every town, in the treasure valley, with the help of their good buddy Chuck Winder. Good riddance Chuck. I was a joyous day to hear the bully was knocked out of the “people house”. It’s time for ALL elected Republicans in Idaho, to truly represent the people, not special interest such as big developers.

    Now we need to vote out the other big spenders who pretend to be Republican, but in practice are really tax and spend liberals in disguise. Their record doesn’t lie. We need to keep educating people on the records of those who are calling themselves Republicans. Education is the key to rid both chambers, and the governors office, of those who are more aligned with democrats than true Republicans. It was a good day ousting such a bully and control freak, who never represented the people of his district, but instead represented big developers and other special interest group. Another two-faced greedy politician gets sent back to the lodge to cry in his beer. Good riddance you fraud.

  3. If anyone thinks that the demise of Winder will be of some real benefit to getting bills voted on you need to understand that our Senate had 35 Senators and the problem was not Winder as much as 16 republicans who vote like democrats according to the the Institute for Legislative Analysis. Idahos Senate and house are full of RINO’s who care nothing about the people who put them in office and for a change we are seeing Idahoans wake up and get them out of office.

    1. Find “ the Institute for Legislative Analysis “ at “ “ . WAKE UP, IDAHO , tell your neighbors !!

  4. Winder, another scum bag democrat who managed for fool voters for decades with the simple act of calling himself a republican. what will it take for Idahoans to realize Republicans are not good guys and start actually paying attention to people’s actions. 1 down, dozens more to go.

  5. I’m chuckling to myself when I read this aggressive pontificating from folks who not only have never served in public office but can’t even stand behind the full name their parents have then. Talk about bullies!

    Yea, let the barbs begin.

    1. Serving in public office does not make you an expert on anything and everything. When I hear a person wanting my vote to tell me they support reduced spending and support real school choice (money follow the student), then I expect a vote that reflects that.
      When you have representatives work with the attitude of “GOING ALONG TO GET ALONG” you get a DO-NOTHING GOVERNMENT. In District 21 it is exactly what I got.

    2. Are you mad Chuck Winder finally got exposed for the bully he is (because he couldn’t control his temper when other members of the senate exercised their free speech rights and ole Chuck thought he was elected dictator of the senate and started censuring people)?

      His ego got so big he actually thought the other senators were elected by him and had to answer to him. Well guess what? He answered to us and we canned his behind. No more people to bully. No more people’s money to recklessly spend. I’m sure he doesn’t spend his own money that way. At least I sure hope not. If he did he’d have 2 mortgages and a home equity line of credit on his house, 5 credit cards fully maxed out, 2 car notes for 2 $80,000 SUVs and a personal line of credit fully maxed. Yet he spent OUR money that way.

      And you say we’re the bullies. He runs for office as a conservative Republican and then legislates as an extremely liberal democrat (with no shame whatsoever like we’re completely stupid and we won’t notice) and recklessly spends OUR money, and actually does bully other representatives who stand up to him. And if we say anything when he loses we’re the bullies. You sound like a double talker like Chuck “the bully double talker” Winder.

      Elected Republicans in Idaho and throughout the country need to start doing what they say they will do when running for office. We need to listen more to what Republicans do and less to what they say, only then will we have true representation from our elected officials. No more wolves in sheep’s clothing. No more “rinos” (democrats masquerading as Republicans). The true republicans here and all over the country have had enough of that.

  6. The way our government is going makes this old combat-disabled soldier sick to death. This is NOT what I laid my life on the line for in Vietnam or what I devoted nearly 22 years of my life to “preserving and protecting.”

    I fear for my children and grandchildren and all the rest of you who will be around long after I am gone. At 73, I am among the youngest living Vietnam vets.

    This next election is probably the most important of our lives. I prayer that all of you who ha have the sacred right to vote will exercise it and do so wisely in November. We cannot survive four more years of liberal progressive Democrat rule. It truly will mean the end of our democratic republic.

    No matter what people say about this being a democracy, it is NOT. Our Founding Fathers bequeathed us with a republic. The only way we can keep it is to sacrifice to ensure its preservation. . . .

    1. Yes. That is right. We are a Republic and not a democracy and never have been a democracy. A democracy is mob rule (which is what democrats love). A Republic is the rule of law.

      “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands…”

      Not to the democracy for which it stands…

      Yet our corrupt politicians in both parties keep calling it a democracy.

  7. The tide always turns… it’s a force of nature. Mr. Keyser, hopefully, will do the right thing during his tenure. We…will…see.

  8. Wouldn’t it be great if all Idahoans politicians (wherever they serve for…umm…oh, yeah….the people) get voted out every four years..,..

  9. Wouldn’t it be great if all Idaho politicians (wherever they serve for…umm…oh, yeah….the people) get voted out every four years..,..

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