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Locks changed at state GOP office, executive director no longer on staff

Embattled former Idaho Republican Party Chairman Barry Peterson, who maintains he’s still the party chairman, confirmed this morning that he’s changed the locks at the state party offices and that party executive director Trevor Thorpe is no longer with the party, leaving just finance chief and office staffer Mary Tipps, who started a month ago, on the state party’s paid staff. “The staff is composed of two, and three or four volunteers,” Peterson said. “And Trevor is going to pursue his master’s degree. Two weeks ago or maybe even three weeks ago, he told me that within a week or so of the convention, he wanted to head out for his master’s degree, so that did happen.”

Peterson said he had the office locks changed “for security reasons.” He said over the years, through many changes, it had become unclear where all the keys to the offices were, so he decided “that it would be just as well to have things be where we knew where all the keys were. So we did that, just for security purposes.”

Peterson said he believes the party’s rules committee that met Thursday night and voted to keep him and other officers in place for two more years was “properly noticed” and constituted. As for the executive committee that met a day earlier and reached the opposite conclusion, holding that party offices were vacant, voting to reappoint several others but not the chairman and deferring to the Central Committee to handle the chairmanship selection, Peterson said, “I didn’t have a hand in it. I know what the rules talk about relative to the executive committee.”

Peterson said he and Tipps are “working hard to try to meet the responsibilities of the office,” including paperwork involving elected party positions for each county and district and contact information for them. “It’s a heck of a workload and we’ve been distracted from being able to get all that done, so we’re just trying to get it done,” he said. “We’ve got plenty of work to do.”


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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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