Posts tagged: Idaho Republican Party
The Idaho Republican Party has decided to stick with plans to hold its 2014 state party convention in Moscow, the AP reports, after a tiff between Chairman Barry Peterson and a local party official there prompted threats to move the event. “We're excited about going to Moscow, we're excited about this new (community team) and I'm personally excited that (Kentucky U.S. Sen.) Rand Paul will be there,” said Leeann Callear, a member of the party's executive committee, which voted unanimously Wednesday to stick with Moscow. “I think he can articulate the message of the Idaho Republican Party better than anyone, and I think he'll help attract a lot of people, including a lot of young people. I believe we can make this the biggest convention we've ever had.”
The Idaho Democratic Party also plans to hold its state convention on Moscow this year; it starts June 20, a week after the GOP convention. Click below for the full AP report.
After just a year in the post, Idaho Republican Party Executive Director Joshua Whitworth is moving on to take a job working for state Controller Brandon Woolf. Trevor Thorpe, who has served as the party’s political director for the past year and a half and was its state victory director for the 2010 elections, will be the new executive director, starting in July. Thorpe is a Virginia native and BYU graduate; before coming to work for the Idaho GOP in 2010, he interned at the U.S. Department of State.
The Kootenai County Republican Party central committee dropped its effort last night to censure four local GOP legislators for voting in favor of a state-based health insurance exchange, after discovering it actually can’t do that, the Coeur d’Alene Press reports. Plus, central committee members said a censure attempt against half their GOP legislative delegation would make the committee look “foolish.”
Three of the four lawmakers – Reps. Frank Henderson, Luke Malek, and Ed Morse – were hoping to address the committee to defend their votes, but weren’t given the opportunity. “I wish we would have had our day in court,” Henderson told the Press after the meeting. “But they would not allow it, so we have to respect that.” Sen. John Goedde didn’t attend the meeting.
Malek issued a statement defending his vote, saying in part, “I think the resolution from this body asking Republican legislators to adopt a federal exchange betrayed every value voters who have entrusted Republicans with the power here in Kootenai County hold dear. That action wounded this party’s credibility in the eyes of those who value smaller government.”
You can read the Press’ full report here from reporter Jeff Selle.
Asked about the Idaho GOP Central Committee’s new resolution calling on the Legislature to overturn local anti-discrimination ordinances, like those six Idaho cities have passed to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, Gov. Butch Otter said today that the resolution runs counter to his views on local control. “I think, even though the cities and counties are creatures of the state, the state has always recognized the value of local control, local decision-making, and these folks having a responsibility to establish for themselves the character of their community,” Otter said. “Although I understand some of the reasoning behind that effort, I really think that the overriding value of local folks making local decisions about local policies is much more valuable than us directing folks from Boise.”
Here's a link to my full story at spokesman.com on how Idaho Republican Party leaders are calling on the state Legislature to invalidate local city ordinances that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation - like the one Coeur d’Alene passed after an emotional community debate just two weeks ago. Six Idaho cities have passed such non-discrimination ordinances in the past year and a half, and a seventh, Idaho Falls, is looking into one now.
The party central committee's resolution isn't binding on the Legislature, which is 81 percent Republican. “It’s a way for the people to make their expressions known to the Legislature,” said Idaho Republican Chairman Barry Peterson. “We let ‘em know that this is the way that the majority of the party feels.” Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem countered, “The Republican Party itself appears to be somewhat fractured, so I’m not assuming that it would get full Republican support. … I would assume that there would certainly be some that would recognize the local rights.” Coeur d’Alene’s city council passed the ordinance on a 5-1 vote.
Cornel Rasor, a former Bonner County commissioner and chairman of the Idaho GOP’s resolutions committee, said, “I’d hire a gay guy if I thought he was a good worker. But if he comes into work in a tutu … he’s not producing what I want in my office.” Rasor presented the resolution on behalf of a constituent in Bonner County; another similar one was proposed by Idaho County’s GOP central committee, and the two were combined into one. It was approved with little debate at the central committee’s summer meeting over the weekend in McCall.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: MCCALL, Idaho (AP) - Republican Party leaders are urging the Idaho Legislature to put a stop to local communities' efforts to provide discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. The approval of the non-binding resolution came Saturday at the GOP's annual Central Committee summer meeting in McCall. The GOP-dominated Idaho Legislature has refused to add housing and workplace protections for gays and lesbians to the Idaho Human Rights Act. As a consequence, numerous municipalities including Coeur d'Alene, Sandpoint, Ketchum, Moscow and Boise are passing their own local protections. That didn't sit well with the majority of Republicans in McCall, who say that Idaho lawmakers should put a stop to it. According to the resolution, the Legislature should pass a law making local discrimination protections unenforceable if they go beyond the state's protections.
Republican leaders in Idaho on Saturday dumped a plan calling for party officials to vet GOP primary election candidates, the AP reports. The rejection came at the Republican Party Central Committee's summer meeting in McCall, where the state's dominant political group was setting its policy direction for the year to come. The proposal was from former Senate Majority Leader Rod Beck, as a way to pressure GOP candidates into adhering more to the wishes of their local party leaders, but it came under fire from an array of top Idaho Republicans, who said it would put decision-making in the hands of just a few people and disenfranchise broader GOP voters. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
As the Idaho Republican Party’s state central committee meets in McCall tomorrow to take up proposed rule changes and resolutions, there are a slew of things on the agenda beyond Rod Beck’s controversial proposal to require all GOP primary candidates to be approved by party officials, or be excluded from the ballot. That’s one of 10 proposed rule changes; there are also 30 proposed resolutions, on everything from asking the state Legislature to invalidate all city non-discrimination ordinances that go beyond state law, like those six Idaho cities have enacted to ban discrimination over sexual orientation or gender identity; to abolishing daylight saving time; to calling for repeal of the state health insurance exchange.
The proposed rule changes range from opening back up the closed GOP primary election to requiring the state central committee to withdraw financial or in-kind support from any GOP office-holder who casts any vote that the committee feels violates any of the party’s resolutions. You can read the eight pages of proposed rule changes here, and the 27 pages of proposed resolutions here.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, former Gov. Phil Batt, and an array of other top GOP officials have come out against a proposed new Idaho Repubican Party rule that would require party officials' blessing before any candidate could appear on a GOP primary ballot, the AP reports. The rule is up for consideration at a state GOP central committee meeting this Friday and Saturday in McCall.
“This is not the party of Phil Batt, this is not the party of Ronald Reagan,” Otter said, of proponents of the plan's loyalties. “It seems to me they want to limit freedom of choice, rather than expanding it.” Batt told AP reporter John Miller. “It's a very poor idea. We need to broaden participation in our elections. I think that would narrow it.” Click below for Miller's full report. Also, Idaho political reporter Melissa Davlin has a report here on opposition to the proposed new rule that's cropping up among Republicans on social media.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Republicans aiming to run for governor, the Legislature or even coroner may first have to win approval from GOP leaders. That's according to a proposal slated for consideration Friday and Saturday at the Republican Party Central Committee's meeting in Donnelly. Idaho's secretary of state would put only candidate names on the GOP primary ballot with their party leaders' blessing. The proposal comes from Region 4 Republican Chairman Rod Beck. He's among those who believe elected GOP officials are ignoring party leaders, such as when some Republican lawmakers and Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter backed a state-based insurance exchange. The Central Committee opposed the exchange. Forces are mustering against Beck's proposal. In a letter, lawmakers including House Speaker Scott Bedke say they worry it will disenfranchise the overwhelming majority of Republicans.
Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — The Blaine County Republican Central Committee has passed a resolution supporting the legalization of marijuana in Idaho. The committee approved the resolution 6-2 earlier this week. Committee member Mike Connor told the Times-News (http://bit.ly/VivjVI ) the resolution is not an endorsement for doing drugs, but an acknowledgement that the War on Drugs is costly and producing few results. It's a rare stance for any committee affiliated with Idaho's dominant political party, and Connor admits the resolution is not likely to gain much political momentum. Idaho Republican Party Executive Director Joshua Whitworth says county central committees pass resolutions frequently, but this is the first one he's seen take a stance to legalize marijuana. Last year, former Republican Rep. Tom Trail of Moscow failed to get a bill approved to legalize medical marijuana.
Ada County Republicans are struggling with the bill from their biggest-in-the-nation presidential caucus last spring: $35,000. Now they're leaning against holding a big, single-site caucus again in 2016; the hefty price tag has left the Ada GOP coffers drained going into the general election season, the AP reports. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
StateImpact Idaho has a report today on the Idahoans headed to the GOP convention in Florida, along with a link to the full list of Idaho's 32 delegates - who include both Gov. Butch Otter and First Lady Lori Otter, state schools Supt. Tom Luna, Lt. Gov. Brad Little, Sen. Jim, Vicki and Jason Risch, Frank and Belinda Vandersloot, Roy Eiguren, Sandy Patano, Ruthie Johnson, Norm Semanko, and both Dane and Damond Watkins. Tracey Wasden is a delegate, while husband and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence is an alternate.
StateImpact reports that the Romney Campaign designated most of the delegates, but three were selected by the party’s nominating committee and three more automatically attend based on their leadership positions; all pay their own costs of travel. You can read their full report here.
Joshua Whitworth, a Mackay native and 2004 graduate of Idaho State University, has been named the new executive director of the Idaho Republican Party by new party Chairman Barry Peterson. Whitworth, 30, fills the position previously held by Jonathan Parker. Click below for the full announcement from the Idaho GOP.
Idaho Republican Party officials say their platform got a good “going-over” at their state party convention in Twin Falls last weekend, with days of subcommittee and committee hearings before the new version was presented to the full convention and approved. “I think everybody got a chance to say what they wanted to say,” said platform chairman Grant Loebs. “If there was strong disagreement, it wasn't strong enough that anybody wanted to take it to the floor and bring it up.”
My analysis shows that despite being reorganized and updated, the vast majority of the platform remained unchanged from the platform adopted by the party in Idaho Falls two years ago. Among items remaining unchanged: Provisions for a closed primary election; calls to repeal the 17th Amendment that provided for direct election of U.S. senators; abolishing the federal reserve, returning to the gold standard and encouraging Idahoans to “participate in a systematic acquisition of precious metals which represent real value as opposed to paper currencies;” support for privatizing Social Security; support for nullifying federal laws seen as unconstitutional; a call to amend the Idaho Constitution to eliminate the citizens reapportionment commission; and opposition to term limits.
Said GOP activist Rod Beck, “The platform got a much heavier going-over than it ever has before. … There was plenty of opportunity by anybody who wanted to amend any of those areas to do so, and they chose not to do it.”
* The phrase “naturally born” was removed from a plank opposing “expansion of the definition of marriage beyond that of a bond between one naturally born man and one naturally born woman.” Loebs said the change was to accommodate people with certain medical conditions at birth.
* A section on labor issues was shortened; among items removed was this sentence: “We support the Idaho Human Rights Commission, which allows for initial in-state handling of employment discrimination.” Loebs said, “There was no opposition to the Human Rights Commission, but they decided that really the statement of support for it was basically superfluous.”
* This sentence was added: “We support the total abolition of inheritance taxes.”
* On abortion, after “We reaffirm our support for the sanctity of life,” the phrase “from conception to natural death” was added. Removed was this sentence: “We recognize many strong and diverse views within our party membership on this issue.”
* This paragraph was removed: “We believe there is an inseparable link between a vibrant economy and a high-quality education system. It takes a vibrant economy to provide the tax base necessary to fund a high-quality education system. Equally, it takes a high-quality education system to provide the highly skilled labor force necessary to meet the demands of a growing, vibrant economy.”
* Several sections were reworded and shortened, and the order of topics was changed.
Loebs said, “It's much more concise now than it was.”
Idaho's super-dominant Republican Party was widely expected to swing back toward the middle this year, after tea party activists peppered the party platform two years ago with planks urging abolishment of the Federal Reserve, eliminating direct election of U.S. senators and pushing Idahoans to stockpile gold - and then forced all state GOP candidates to pledge allegiance to the platform or specify publicly where they disagreed. But after last weekend's Idaho GOP convention, very little changed. All those planks remained in the platform, except the pledge - but it was removed solely because it duplicated party rules, where it remains.
“It's my personal feeling that the convention is an illustration that the strength of the party is in the foundation, which is essentially made up of the precinct committeemen who elect the delegates from amongst their peers,” said new Idaho GOP Chairman Barry Peterson. “The quicker in my mind that any elected official realizes that they get their power and authority from the grass roots, the better public servant they'll be.”
The relatively few changes to the platform included hardening the party's anti-abortion stance; removing a clause expressing support for the Idaho Human Rights Commission; and calling for “total abolition” of inheritance taxes. “I don't think the party moved further right or came back any to the middle,” said state Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, who chaired the resolutions committee at the convention. “I think maybe we have a good direction going forward right now.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) ― Idaho Republicans voted to send their 32 delegates to the national convention this summer to support presidential candidate Mitt Romney. According to Idaho GOP rules, the delegates selected at Saturday's state convention are bound to support Romney during the first round of balloting at the five-day GOP national convention in Tampa Bay starting on Aug. 27. Before the state convention in Twin Falls, there had been murmurings that supporters of Ron Paul would openly seek to undermine Romney's support. That didn't materialize. Romney, who will face Democratic President Barack Obama, won Idaho's “Super Tuesday” caucus March 6, with Paul finishing a distant third behind Rick Santorum. Paul supporter Ryan Davidson, an Ada County delegate, said discussion of attempting to direct delegates away from Romney in Twin Falls was always “theoretical.”
Idaho Republicans on Saturday elected a Mountain Home hardware store owner to lead the state's dominant party ahead of November's big ballot fight over education reforms, the Associated Press reports. Barry Peterson was chosen chairman over charter school activist Gayann DeMordaunt from Eagle. Peterson replaces outgoing chairman Norm Semanko. The 64-year-old Peterson was described by backers as an example of rural Idaho's conservative roots; his grandfather settled Elmore County in 1885.
“We will unitedly work to have a more effective and impactful role in the politics of our state,” Peterson told delegates. Click below for AP reporter John Miller's full report.
Idaho State Republican Party convention delegates in Twin Falls likely skirted a renewed, potentially messy internal fight over their party's closed primary by recommending the issue be studied, not addressed head-on, reports AP reporter John Miller. According to a resolution that cleared a convention committee Friday, state leaders will be asked to scrutinize the 2012 closed primary's consequences on turnout and Republican success before deciding if changes are necessary for 2014. The Republican Party limited its May 15 primary election to registered GOP voters; click below for Miller's full report.
Reopening the Idaho Republican Party's closed primary and dismantling federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency are among 16 proposed resolutions up for consideration at the state GOP convention in Twin Falls this weekend, the Associated Press reports. The proposals have been submitted ahead of the Thursday-through-Saturday confab, and include abolishing the federal departments of Energy and Education and the EPA. Meanwhile, the Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports that leaders from Idaho's 44 counties have one request for Republicans meeting this week in Twin Falls: Rethink the policy of having closed primary elections. The Idaho Association of Commissioners and Clerks sent a statement urging Republican party leaders to go back to an open primary; members blame the the closed primary ― and its requirement that voters register with the party before getting a GOP ballot ― for record-low turnout statewide.
Twin Falls Times-News reporter Melissa Davlin has a report here on Thursday's platform discussions, which included a narrow subcommittee vote to keep a “sound currency” plank, and another to get rid of the phase “naturally born” that preceded the party’s definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman; that descriptor could exclude transgendered people and people born with certain medical conditions. The discussions continue today and Saturday. Davlin reported that subcommittee head Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, said Thursday's discussions went well, even when she disagreed with the vote outcome. “I was pleased with the civility and discourse,” she said.
Convention activities today include a general session, updates on redistricting and school reforms, and a speech tonight from GOP Gov. Butch Otter.