Eye On Boise

A party take on non-partisan elections?

It was a little surprising to get a media advisory today that Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko will hold a press conference call tomorrow morning "to discuss the 2009 elections and what they mean for Idaho in 2010," because Idaho's 2009 elections - today is Election Day - are all non-partisan, municipal races. Jonathan Parker, state GOP executive director, said the idea is "to discuss national elections as well, like the Virginia governor's race, the New Jersey governor's race, and how those trends we see will be affecting races in Idaho such as our statewide races, as well as the 1st Congressional District."

However, the Idaho GOP Central Committee did pass a resolution in June calling for the party to "participate in non-partisan local elections" and stating that "Idaho's Republican Party should identify and support the election of Republican candidates to local governments such as city councils and school boards." Parker said, "What Chairman Semanko and I decided to do in response to this resolution was to work with the counties individually to see if this is something that they would be interested in. ... We did not want to step on anybody's toes." Parker said he's aware of only one county GOP central committee, Bonneville County's, that decided to endorse candidates in a local city council election in Idaho Falls. "In Boise, the central committee has not endorsed anybody, but a lot of the members have been very active in supporting certain candidates," Parker said.

Semanko himself is a candidate for re-election to the city council in Eagle. The party hasn't endorsed there, Parker said. "We've had a completely 100 percent hands-off approach with Norm's race," he said.




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