With Idaho's first closed GOP primary just a week away, Idaho Republicans are turning on each other with a ferocity unseen in decades. Campaign finance reports filed Tuesday revealed everything from House Republican leadership money being funneled into efforts to defeat a member of House Republican leadership, to a Coeur d'Alene representative targeting two fellow North Idaho GOP lawmakers for defeat. Endorsements are being given and withdrawn, two Kootenai County GOP groups are clawing at each other's right to invoke the name of Ronald Reagan, and independent groups are mounting their own campaigns, either boosting or bashing various GOP incumbents under names like Free Enterprise PAC and Idaho Prosperity Fund.
“It is a divided party,” said Jim Weatherby, Boise State University emeritus professor of public policy and a longtime watcher of Idaho politics. “Primary battles are always tough. I think it's worse now, though, when the legitimacy of being a Republican is questioned, or one's assertion of being a conservative is questioned.” Steve Shaw, a political scientist at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, said with Idaho's one-party GOP dominance, “There's nothing else to do so they're really going after each other.” Plus, he said, “They've gotten a lot more bitter or nasty.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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