Posts tagged: Closed Primaries
Idaho governors used to take the word of candidates for key boards and commissions. If they said they were independent, that would do the trick. Not anymore. After the Idaho Republican Party won a federal lawsuit overturning Idaho’s open primary system on constitutional grounds, the Legislature enacted a party registration law. Now, two top Republicans — Gov. Butch Otter and Secretary of State Ben Ysursa — are scratching their heads over what they say is an unintended consequence of the newly closed GOP primary. Three of the 22 boards that must be balanced between parties got out of whack because three independents and a Democrat registered and voted as Republicans in May. They include the Board of Environmental Quality, a rule-making body with far-reaching impact on business and ordinary Idahoans. Also off balance are the Commission on Aging, which advises the Office on Aging, and the Economic Advisory Council, which advises the Department of Commerce/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Did Idaho Republicans outsmart themselves with their push for a closed primary?
At the Lewiston Tribune, opinionator Marty Trillhaase thanks Wayne Hoffman of the right-wing Idaho Freedom Foundation for revealing true intent of the new closed primaries pushed by the Idaho GOP — to out the politics of certain people: “Here's what he told the Tribune's Brad Gary: 'I never said I was going to go around and make an effort to publish that information. I said that information would be useful.' Useful? To whom? Certainly to political parties. Election after election, the Idaho GOP will compile a list of its reliable voters. Its base. The people it can count on to turn out at the polls. To put up yard signs. To contribute money. The party also can identify the people who switch in and out of its ranks, voting in a GOP election this year and a Democratic contest the next. These Republicans in Name Only are the kind of people the GOP wants to cull from its ranks and certainly from its roll of candidates. But there's also room for mischief.” More here.
Question: Do you mind letting the Idaho Republican Party know which way you vote?
In the final few days of this legislative session, as capitol reporters were scurrying to wrap up stories on the big budget items regarding teacher pay, tax cuts and restoring the state’s “rainy day” fund, they unexpectedly found themselves grappling with a far more personal issue: namely, should they vote in our May primary. The issue was instigated by the belief that Wayne Hoffman of the Idaho Freedom (how ironic is this?) Foundation was about to use the Republican Party’s new closed primary arrangement as a means of discovering — and then proclaiming to all who care — the bias of the media. The closed primary shindig inflicted upon us requires us to either register as a Republican to vote in the Republican primary or to request a Democratic ballot. That choice immediately becomes a public record — able to be discovered by all and then communicated to everyone/Publisher John Pfeifer, Twin Falls Times-News. More here. (Ag Weekly photo: Dan Pfeifer)
Question: Publisher John Pfeifer goes on to say that he will encourage his political and government reporters to exercise their right to vote — and damn the critics who'll take note of which ballot they select. Do you agree with his approach?
Also: Butch Otter told the Idaho Reporter that he'd give lawmakers an 'A' grade for their work this session.
Gov. Butch Otter has signed major legislation into law to impose party registration in Idaho and close the state's primary elections if parties choose to exclude anyone other than those registered as party members; he quietly signed HB 351 into law yesterday. Also, the same day, Otter quietly signed SB 1202 into law, making a $100,000 payment to the Idaho Republican Party for its legal fees in its successful lawsuit against the state that overturned the state's current primary election law as unconstitutional, because it kept the GOP from closing its primary/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Please explain how Gov. Otter can sign bills cutting funding for schools for a 3rd straight year and Medicaid and then turn around and sign a bill that gives the Idaho GOP $100,000 for legal expenses?
Idaho Republicans should take editorial criticism from conservative Publisher Dan Hammes of the St. Maries Gazette-Record seriously. Hammes predicts that voters are going to be miffed when they figure out what the GOP did by pushing to close primaries and then asking the Legislature to reimburse $100,000 in legal fees. At one point in this week's editorial, Hammes suggests that the GOP pay for its own primary, since it wants party purity. Also, he pooh-poohs the notion that Democrats are crossing over to spoil GOP contests: “To suggest that Idaho Democrats n who can’t even elect Democrats n are cagey enough to somehow manipulate Republican primaries for nefarious purposes just doesn’t make much sense.” Finally, he predicts that many voters, who haven't been paying much attention to the GOP shenanigans to close primaries, to this point, are going to be miffed when they try to vote in 2012 primaries. You can read Dan's thoughts here.
Question: What do you think of Hammes' argument that Idaho Dems aren't capable of electing its own candidates, let alone disrupting a Republican primary?
The Senate has voted 25-10 to pay $100,000 to the Idaho Republican Party for its attorney fees in its successful lawsuit against Idaho's primary election law, a settlement that was reached between the state and the party, revising the amount down from close to $144,000. But several senators noted that the court hasn't ordered payment. “I have to point out, we're paying $100,000 for the Republican Party to sue the Republican Legislature, defended by the Republican secretary of state, in order to close primaries in Idaho - I just think this is so bad it's comical,” said Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Actually, in Idaho, closing primaries would benefit the Democrats immensely:
Question: Who would benefit most/least by closed primaries in Idaho?
Open primaries should be eliminated. Not only should members of political parties be allowed to select their own nominees, but open primaries provide too many opportunities for mischief by their political foes. We saw this in 2008, when Rush Limbaugh organized “Operation Chaos,” urging his listeners to vote for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries at a time when Barack Obama had seemingly wrapped up the nomination. I led a similar campaign during the Michigan primary — which was meaningless on the Democratic side — urging my readers to vote for Mitt Romney as a way to try and extend a Republican primary that had been pretty much locked up by John McCain/Markos Moulitsos, The Daily Kos, writing in The Hill. More here.
Question: Can you remember the last time that Moulitsos of The Daily Kos agreed with the uberconservatives in the Idaho Republican Party?
As I’m sitting here in Court, something just hit me like a ton of bricks. This court case is actually NOT about incumbency vs challenger (in the strictist sense as I previously posted). It is far more pernicious than that. It goes beyond any candidate, past or future. It is about the deeply held anger/disrespect by many GOP incumbent office holders — against the volunteer people in the Party organization — the moms and dads — the disaffected Tea Party folks. What? Does that even make sense? Yep. The long-term GOP elected representatives want party organization people/volunteers/Tea Party folks to simply be pampleteers during “election time” and then shut the hell up during the rest of the time/Dennis Mansfield. More here.
Question: What do you make of Dennis’ premises that the goal of the lawsuit brought by Idaho Republicans is to keep Tea Partiers in line?
Today marks the start of the trial in Federal Court between the Republican Party of the State of Idaho Vs. the Idaho Secretary of State. Say what? Yep, in Federal Court the GOP is suing the Sec. of State for Idaho (who is a Republican). Yes. in a way, it’s like Mad Magazine’s old Spy vs Spy. … So what? It is a trial of huge perportions, because it is a trial the outcome of which will mold the future of the state — who will run for office, who will serve in office and what policies will be followed for education, for the sanctity of life, for spending and for so many other vital issues. It’s a big deal. Big enough to go to Federal Court/Dennis Mansfield. More here.
Question: Do you agree with the attempt by the state Republican Party to close primaries?
Closed primaries lead to more-extreme candidates, the two professors wrote, with old-fashioned party “machine” politics the most-extreme example. “Open primaries produce less ideologically extreme candidates than closed primaries, and produce candidates that are more representative of the party in the electorate as well as the overall electorate,” they wrote. “Open primaries increase citizen engagement as well as voter turnout in primary and general elections”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Do you prefer primaries the way they’re currently run in Idaho? Or would you prefer that they be closed to party members only?
The Idaho Republican Party Central Committee on Saturday voted to press on with plans to close its primary. Rod Beck, an advocate of the closed primary, told The Associated Press that the Central Committee voted overwhelmingly to reject a recommendation passed at the June GOP state convention in Sandpoint that favored maintaining the 37-year-old open primary. There’s a federal court date in a Republican lawsuit against the state on Feb. 18 in U.S. District Court in Boise seeking to close the primary. Beck and others want to close the primary because they think Democrats and independents are switching sides and skewing elections in favor of candidates who don’t support Republican ideals/AP.
Question: Do you support closed primaries for Idaho?