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Posts tagged: Idaho GOP

Rainey: Birchers Influence Idaho GOP

I’m not anti-Republican. I’m not. I swear. I have friends who are… well, you know. But – from precinct to national level – more and more stories dealing with Republicans are filled with examples of ignorance of politics in general and the workings of all levels of government specifically. They’ve elected some goofballs to Congress who’ve proven THEY don’t know how it operates, either State groups continue to advocate party positions with no forethought of reality. All in all, what’s left of Grand Old Party leadership, in many states, is some old John Birch types with official titles they worked so many years to get. The near-rabid GOP stalwarts in Idaho have provided the latest evidence of such ignorance, meeting in Twin Falls this month in state convention. As they do each session, they created a party “purity” platform with the usual impossible planks of going back to the gold standard, taking away the vote for U.S. Senators from fellow citizens, etc. But they topped themselves this year/Barrett Rainey, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.

Question: Can you give an example of a John Birch Society influence on the state or local GOP?

Stapilus: Denney As GOP Chair?

The Idaho Democratic convention may generate a few headlines but the Republican next weekend in Twin Falls may tell a larger story, when it makes decisions on picking a new chairman and approving platform and resolutions. The chairmanship is opening with the end-of-term departure of Norm Semanko, and there’s not only no obvious heir, but also no now-obvious battle lines. The chair fight in 2010 was not about different gradations of “conservative,” or even ideology, but more about ins vs. outs. The outs (under Semanko’s banner) won. … The divisions this year seem not nearly as sharp as two years ago. A bunch of names have been floated. Some are not prominent statewide (the county chair of Elmore County, for example). At least one is well known – Dean Sorensen, a former legislator who (fairly or not) for some bears the “moderate” tag, not a good sign for election inside this party. A dark horse could yet emerge. Then there’s Lawerence Denney …/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.

Question: Would you like to see House Speaker Lawerence Denney resign that seat and become chairman of the Idaho Republican Party?

Parker To Join Semanko On Sidelines

One of the first jobs for the Idaho Republican Party's next chairman will be to name a second-in-command. Jonathan Parker, the Idaho Republican Party's executive director, is stepping down in June. Parker will join the Boise law firm Holland and Hart. Parker is not an attorney, and will not provide legal counsel; he will instead work in “government affairs services” for the firm. State chairman Norm Semanko also is stepping down after the GOP convention in June/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.


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Semanko Defends Closed Primary

Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko defends his party's closed primaries: “To help better explain why the Idaho Republican Party supported such a change, it might help to imagine a rivalry football game between the Boise State Broncos and the Idaho Vandals (unfortunately, imagination is all we are left with in this rivalary these days) in which Coach Peterson selected the starting lineup for the Vandals, and Coach Akey selected the starting lineup for the Broncos. You would say that is crazy!  But that is precisely what has happened in Idaho primary elections for almost 40 years.  Non-GOP voters regularly switched over and voted in the Republican primary since they know their parties have difficulties electing their own candidates. In fact, a survey conducted in 2010 by a professional pollster found that almost 40% of non-GOP voters in Idaho admitted to having voted in a Republican primary. This was just further evidence of the need for a change to Idaho’s open primary system.” Full statement here.

Question: Have you ever crossed over to vote Republican before? Do you plan to do so Tuesday?

Trib: Going Along To Get Along

In an editorial entitled “For Idaho GOP, integrity means going along,” Marty Trillhaase (pictured) of the Lewiston Tribune writes: “You know Idaho's dominant political party is having a bad day when its platform reads like it was written by people who spend too much time with their cats, watching Fox News and not getting enough fresh air. Now these several hundred political shut-ins want to set policy for the rest of us. Even worse, a lot of Republicans are too timid to stand up to them.” (BTW, I really like that line about cats.) Marty then goes on to break down the foolishness embedded in the Idaho Republican Party platform. Full editorial here.

Question: Have you ever studied the Idaho Republican Party platform to see whether you agree with it?

Edit: Hoffman Let’s State Secret Slip

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?

IFF: Never Planned Journo Outing

Wayne Hoffman, the head of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, says his group has never planned to research track whether — or how — reporters vote in the May 15 party primaries. On Wednesday, Hoffman took issue with an Idaho Press Club newsletter column written by Betsy Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review — and my subsequent Saturday column — which said that Hoffman had hinted at looking at reporters' votes. Hoffman said he has said the voting information could be valuable “from a news organization transparency standpoint,” and could have informational value to readers. But he said his conservative but nonpartisan lobbying group has never planned to look for the data. “We don't do primary election stuff,” Hoffman said in a voicemail/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.


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Santorum: Idaho GOP Broke Rules

Rick Santorum desperately needs a win in Wisconsin Tuesday to slow Mitt Romney's momentum, but the Red White & Blue Fund says in a 39-page memo that Idaho is among 12 states where challenges could trim Romney's delegate count. The March 22 memo was published last week by the Huffington Post and argues that 638 unbound delegates and potential challenges at the convention in August mean it is “nearly impossible” for Romney to capture the 1,144 necessary to lock up the nomination in advance. In Idaho, the memo argues that Romney deserves only 20 of the 32 delegates, though state party rules call for him to receive all 32. The memo says Santorum deserves six delegates. It also mistakenly says Newt Gingrich should also get six delegates, confusing Gingrich with Ron Paul/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (SR file photo: Santorum in Coeur d'Alene in February)

Question: Any thoughts re: the winner-take-all caucus rules that Idaho GOP followed?

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Idaho GOP Undercuts Voter Privacy

I know I’m not going to get any sympathy from some of you. Some might find it poetic justice to see journalists agonizing because of something public records might reveal about them. (And yes, I can see where there could be journalistic value in using the poll books to check up on a candidate who claims to be a lifelong Republican or a lifelong Democrat). That’s my point, though. This rule opens the door to all kinds of snooping, and this doesn’t just pose a problem for reporters. Anyone who works in nonpartisan city government — from the mayor and City Council on down — is subject to scrutiny. Same for anyone who works in the court system. Or on a university campus, in a public school or for a state agency/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you feel in any way disenfranchised by Idaho GOP move to closed primaries?

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Decision Time For Idaho Journalists

In her Idaho Press Club President's Column for the spring newsletter, SR colleague Betsy Russell tells of a dilemma facing us journalists in Idaho this spring. We have to decide whether or not to vote in the primaries, which for the first time will require party affiliation. Seems Wayne Hoffman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation has hinted that he might track how Idaho journalists vote & in which primary they vote. Betsy says she has no problem complying with SR rules that journalists are not to take part in a party-run event designed for partisans, like a caucus. But a primary is another matter, especially in Republican-dominated Idaho where primaries often decide who wins the general election. Betsy goes on to say that she's been warned by Editor Gary Graham that a vote by her in the primary could compromise her ability to cover government & politics. (Gary has told me that I'm in a different situation in that I'm an opinion writer with well known political proclivities. Read: I'm going to vote the Republican ticket, Wayne.)

Question: Do you think it's right that journalists are somewhat disenfranchised by the Idaho GOP push to require party affiliation at the primary polls?

Much To Learn From GOP Caucus

It took seven hours to select a winner in Kootenai County. If somebody showed up at 5 p.m. Tuesday night to check in for Idaho's first Republican presidential caucus, they would have to stick with the process until after midnight to find out the winner. The state's winner by then was long known, with southern Idaho finishing up much earlier and deciding Mitt Romney would get the state's 32 delegates. There was lots of waiting in line Tuesday night and lots of waiting on ballot counts. There was more waiting as people, sometime from the audience grabbed the microphone and made a case for a specific candidate. “We had people who walked out,” Kootenai County GOP chair Tina Jacobson said Wednesday. And people did walk out. There were 3,775 people who voted in the first round. But only 1,172 people voted in the final round/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Joe Jaszewski/Idaho Statesman photographed this Mitt Romney supporter at the Boise GOP caucus)

Question: Did you participate in the GOP caucus? How long did you stay?

Idaho Ready To Help Pick Nominee

Idaho Republicans play a role in Super Tuesday this evening as they gather throughout the state for presidential caucuses. It will be a new experience for many. For decades, the Idaho GOP has used the results of a presidential primary to award delegates to the candidates while Democrats have used caucuses. But the presidential primary was part of the state primary in May, which is usually so late that the nominee is already chosen. This year Idaho Republicans switched to the caucus system and scheduled it as early as the national party allows for awarding all of a state’s delegates, hoping to get some attention from the candidates. The tactic worked: All four presidential candidates visited the state, and party officials report voters are caught up in the excitement/Jim Camden, SR. More here.

Question: Are you going to participate in the Super Tuesday caucus election in Idaho today?

Nate: Finally Idaho Has A Voice

After decades of politely waiting for the rest of the country to choose our Presidential nominees, Idaho finally gets a chance to make a difference.  You can be a part of history on March 6th, when Idaho Republicans caucus to assign their delegates for the Republican presidential nomination. It’s been exciting to see candidates—note the plural—visit Idaho in hopes of winning the nomination.  After this week, all four major republican contenders will have made a stop in Idaho.  The campaigns are organizing get-togethers, phone banks, and get-out-the-vote efforts.  Maybe we’ll even see some signs and/or media ads. It’s a great time to be an Idaho Republican.  The best the democrats can do is to occupy a voting booth, cast an obligatory re-election ballot for a failed president, and then hope for a miracle.  Meanwhile, Republicans are attending campaign events, listening to candidates, enjoying some media attention, and getting fired up for a meaningful caucus/Ronald M. Nate, Idaho GOP Caucus Committee chairman. More here.

Question: It's pretty hard to argue that the move by Idaho Republicans to eliminate their presidential primary and move to a caucus system for Super Tuesday attracted presidential candidates? Agreed?

Idaho Becomes GOPrez Race Player

Patrick Teems completed a political odyssey Saturday. The Boise pilot last week got to attend political rallies for three of the top contenders for the Republican presidential nomination ahead of Idaho’s March 6 GOP caucus. Teems came into the week leaning toward Mitt Romney, but seeing the other two made him reconsider. Ron Paul’s libertarian message Saturday resonated with him. And he liked Rick Santorum’s electrifying speech Tuesday at Capital High — and Santorum’s willingness to stay afterward to have his picture taken with people such as Teems’ teenage son, Max. Republican Congressman Raul Labrador would have loved to see all three, too, but he was in Washington, D.C., until Saturday and was able to attend only Paul’s rally. He’s not endorsing any candidate/Dan Popkey & Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here. (SR file photo: Santorum with Coeur d'Alene High students (from left) Adam Borsheim, Derek Scharf and Ty Higbie)

Question: Did the visit of three of the top four GOP presidential candidates last week boost Idaho's status on the national Republican scene?

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Cautious Crane Takes Surprise Stand

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum addresses the crowd at a rally on Tuesday in Boise. State Treasurer Ron Crane (red tie) is sitting in lower right behind Santorum. (AP Photo/Press-Tribune, Charlie Litchfield)

Idaho's Treasurer, Ron Crane, has been a friend of mine for many years. … He joined me in '94 in supporting political “upstart” Helen Chenoweth when I was in her “kitchen cabinet” for her first GOP Primary win, against David Leroy, the near-titular head of the GOP, at that time. To the best of my knowledge, that was the last time Ron Crane ever opposed any establishment Republican, in favor of an “outsider”. That is, until last night, when he publicly announced his support of Rick Santorum - and even sat on stage behind the presidential candidate. Despite years of friendship he never endorsed me in any of my runs for office. And yet he endorsed Rick Santorum last evening. That's amazing — and highly encouraging. And more than a bit controversial. Something's happening in the ranks of the GOP big boys/Dennis Mansfield. More here.

Question: Do you think “something's happening in the ranks of the GOP big boys”?

Press: We’re All Republicans Now

The editorial in today's Coeur d'Alene Press is urging Independents and others to register and vote Republican in the Idaho GOP primary in order to have his/her voice heard in the Kootenai County sheriff's race: “Democrats aren't the only enemy in the eyes of some in Republican leadership; moderate-leaning independent voters can also derail the dreams of extremists. But what will you do about it? If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. We're not suggesting Democrats formally switch their political affiliation just so they can join the primary fun, but we do urge independent voters, especially those who lean Republican anyway, to fill out a Republican party affiliation form pronto.”

Question (for Democrats, Independents, and third-party readers): Are you planning to vote Republican this spring, to have a voice in local elections?

Ex-GOP Chair/Stalker Reprimanded

The Idaho Falls lawyer, a power in Idaho politics for 25 years, was issued a public reprimand for professional misconduct in connection with his conduct with a former girlfriend. Hall stepped down from his post on the Republican National Committee after his November 2009 conviction for stalking. Hall also had served on the Idaho State Board of Education, as a Bonneville County deputy prosecutor and oversaw the state's Catastrophic Health Care Program, or CAT Fund. Hall's ability to practice law is not affected by the reprimand, which appears in the February issue of the Idaho State Bar Association, The Advocate/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.


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Press: Extremists Swaying Idaho GOP

Denney (left) and Semanko (right) got caught up in trying to out-conservative their own conservative party. We have seen this attitude play out too often right here in Kootenai County, and inevitably, it serves neither the citizens at large nor the Republican Party itself. This Constitutionalist/Libertarian wing of the party represents a political splinter group so contrary to the basics of good government that the county's Reagan Republicans have distanced themselves from their alleged party mates. … We're hopeful that the Republican Party will find leaders more in tune with this great state's ideals, and we offer a sincere suggestion for those who argue that the party isn't conservative enough: Declare yourself a Constitutionalist, a Libertarian or even an anarchist, but stop masquerading as something you're not/Mike Patrick, Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: What do you make of Mike's point that the Constitutionalists/Libertarians/militia, etc., embedded in the local Republican Party should be honest enough to quit masquerading as something they're not?

Idaho GOP Can’t Challenge Voters

Item: Closed Idaho GOP primary is actually pretty open: Republicans can't challenge voters/Keith Kinnaird, Bonner County Bee

More Info: Voters who cast their ballots based on the quality of individual candidates instead of party affiliation need not fear Idaho’s closed Republican primary. Only voters who declare their affiliation to the GOP will be issued Republican ballots in the May 15 primary election. But moral questions aside, there is nothing that prevents non-Republicans from simply declaring a GOP affiliation in order to vote in the Republican primary. Moreover, there is nothing in Idaho Code which allows the GOP to challenge your declared affiliation if there are any doubts about your political persuasion.

Question: Even if you don't consider yourself a Republican, do you plan to cast a Republican ballot in the Idaho primary, to ensure that your vote will count in important races?

Semanko To Quit, Defends Move

Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko has sent out a guest opinion defending his attempt to try to fire GOP redistricting commissioner Randy Hansen, touting the party's Idaho electoral successes and announcing that he won't seek another term as party chairman. Semanko wrote that the “secret to our success” was that “the grassroots of our Party was motivated and energized to recruit candidates and support them because they were included, and we weren't shy about standing up for our core, conservative Republican principles.” He wrote, “As I conclude my four year tenure as Chairman and hand the reins over to someone else at the Republican State Convention in Twin Falls this summer, this will be my proudest accomplishment”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Interesting point Semanko makes re: persons from Hansen's Twin Falls area being among those calling for his ouster. And that Twin Falls filed suit against the redistricting plan. What do you think?

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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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