BOISE -- Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter named U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson's wife to a board that nominates Idaho judges, in the process replacing a Republican Party rival who has split with the governor on numerous issues.
Otter named Kathy Simpson of Idaho Falls to the seven-member Idaho Judicial Council to replace Ron Nate of Rexburg, whose term ended last month.
Otter and Nate have differed on numerous GOP issues in recent years.
Nate helped promote Idaho's closed Republican primary, while Otter opposed it.
Nate also favors punishing Republican lawmakers who vote contrary to internal GOP party resolutions, such as when the 2013 Idaho Legislature backed Otter's state-based insurance exchange.
Judicial council members not only help nominate new judges, but oversee discipline of wayward members of the bench, should such an instance arise.