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Idaho GOP central committee votes ‘no confidence’ in McGee after DUI

Here's a news item from the Associated Press:  MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Republicans have approved a motion giving Sen. John McGee a vote of no confidence following a drunken driving incident but postponed indefinitely a resolution calling for the Senate majority caucus chairman to resign his leadership position. The no-confidence motion approved by the Idaho GOP's state central committee on Saturday at its meeting in Moscow has no legal effect, but some members say it sends a message that they don't approve of what McGee did. McGee, of Caldwell, on July 1 pleaded guilty to drunken driving on June 19, and in exchange prosecutors agreed to drop a felony stemming from him taking a SUV that didn't belong to him. The Lewiston Tribune reports that committee members spent more time talking about McGee than any other single issue.

Here's the opening of the Lewiston Trib story, by reporters Bill Spence and Cody Bloomsburg: “MOSCOW — A resolution calling for Senate Majority Caucus Chairman John McGee to resign his leadership position was defeated at a state party meeting in Moscow on Saturday, but the group did give the Caldwell lawmaker a vote of no confidence. The Idaho Republican Party state central committee spent more time talking about the McGee resolution than any other single issue. It said the party “agrees with the will of the voters, who disapprove of and seek the resignation of any politician who drinks, steals and drives.” Initially it called for McGee to be censured and expelled from the central committee, but it was later amended to remove the expulsion clause.” Click below for a full report.


MOSCOW (AP) — Idaho Republicans have approved a motion giving Sen. John McGee a vote of no confidence following a drunken driving incident but postponed indefinitely a resolution calling for the Senate majority caucus chairman to resign his leadership position.

The no-confidence motion approved by the Idaho GOP’s state central committee on Saturday at its meeting in Moscow has no legal effect, but some members say it sends a message that they don’t approve of what McGee did.

McGee, of Caldwell, on July 1 pleaded guilty to drunken driving on June 19, and in exchange prosecutors agreed to drop a felony stemming from him taking a SUV that didn’t belong to him.

“We should be able to send a message about something we don’t approve of,” said Bonneville County GOP chairman Don Schanz, who put forward the no-confidence motion. “This (motion) has no legal effect, but from my perspective it means we have no confidence in his ability to conduct business.”

A previous resolution submitted by Mark Patterson and Lucas Baumbach, both of Boise, called for McGee to be censured and expelled from the central committee.

Baumbach told the Lewiston Tribune he drafted it after McGee, at a Canyon County GOP Central Committee meeting last week, blocked a vote on whether the 38-year-old lawmaker should remain the local party chairman.

“We must, as the Idaho Republican Party, attract individuals of character and moral fiber to run for public office,” Baumbach told the committee. “How can we do that when we harbor and give safe haven to people who do not have good moral fiber?”

Gretchen Clelland of Twin Falls made a motion to indefinitely postpone the resolution, effectively killing it.

“I think this is a ridiculous waste of our time and needs to go away,” she said.

Baumbach countered that it wasn’t a waste of time.

“We have a brand here,” he said. “I have people asking me why they would want to be in the Republican Party if it doesn’t stand for family values. (McGee’s situation) makes people disgusted with the Republican brand. Shame on anyone who thinks it’s OK to let this pass with just a slap on the wrist.”

Canyon County committeewoman Julie Yamamoto defended McGee.

“I believe John when he says he’s sorry,” she said. “I don’t think anyone in this room could be left standing if everything in our lives flashed across the screen. Not one of us stands blameless before the Lord.”

The newspaper reported that committee members spent more time talking about the McGee resolution than any other single issue.

© 2011 The Associated Press.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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