HucksOnline interview with Sandy Patano of the North Idaho Political Action Committee follows:
DFO: Why do you think there's a need for the North Idaho Political Action Committee, which has been dubbed "Reasonable Republicans"?
Sandy Patano: We want to identify and recruit quality candidates to run for office. Phil Hart motivated me to get involved by his actions and his inaction to take care of his own business. We need strong candidates with integrity who have skill and talent to tackle tough issues that government faces today. We don't need self-serving ones. We want people to focus on important issues of the day and not get sidetracked with issues that aren't important to most.
- DFO: What is your reaction to the attacks that the United Conservatives of North Idaho has made on the phrase 'reasonable Republicans'? Rep. Barbieri's said: “If I wanted a reasonable Republican, I’d vote for a Democrat.”
- Sandy: I think he's backtracking on his own comment now. (Those who call us that are) engaged in a process that's designed to exclude versus include more people. That's why we (Idaho Republicans) moved to a closed primary in Idaho.
- DFO: You mentioned Phil Hart as a reason for your involvement. Are there any other candidates who might concern you?
- Sandy: Yes. There are candidates seeking public office in Kootenai County that should cause the public concern. I'm bothered that there are some Republican candidates who think they don't have to follow the same law that the rest of us do -- and I'm not just talking about Phil Hart.
- More below
- DFO: Can you give a description of a candidate that NIPAC would support?
- Sandy: We can talk about spending, taxes -- are they equipped to deal with those issues. Do they have the talent to create that change. Some people look at public office as a job with benefits in a tough economy. We need more people who have jobs who are interested in taking their turn in serving in public office. We're trying to get back to the principles of the Republican Party, not the Constitutionalists, Libertarians, Ron Paulers, and all the other parties who have hijacked us. Our PAC is inclusive. We want people to participate in government. We're not trying to make it more difficult for people to participate in government.
- DFO: Are you concerned about the sheriff's race?
- Sandy: Yes, there are too many candidates. That's dilutes the race. Having four (Republican) candidates in a race means someone will get elected with less than 50 percent of the vote. We might get a weaker candidate rather than the strongest and best. We've done that before.
- DFO: Are you going to be involved in precinct races in an attempt to steer the local GOP Central Committee back toward the middle?
- Sandy: We're not directly involved in that. We might have a minor role.
- DFO: Can you think of a Ron Pauler or Constitutionalist in this county you'd consider "reasonable"?
- Sandy: Can you suggest a couple of names?
- DFO: Are you going to run for office some day?
- Sandy: I have no idea. I'm not going to say "no" in case I decide someday to do so. But I have no plans to.
- DFO: How do you think NIPAC will impact the 2012 elections?
- Sandy: We have an opportunity (by the makeup of our committee and people who support us) to make a difference through money, endorsements, and influence. We'll work for candidates. We're not going to endorse in every race.
- DFO: How long will it take for Reasonable Republicans to get the local party back balanced again?
- Sandy: There's an opportunity right now. Good people can run now and give other Republicans an alternative. Filing deadline is tomorrow.