It was a day-long pep rally and back-patting session on Friday as Idaho Republicans pumped up the party faithful for the campaigns of U.S. Sen. Larry Craig and presumptive presidential nominee Bob Dole.
“Much has been made in the press in recent months that perhaps Idaho has too many Republicans. What an absurd notion,” Gov. Phil Batt, Idaho’s first GOP governor in 24 years, told hundreds of cheering delegates at the state Republican Party convention.
“The voters have elected Republicans because we represent the ideas and values they are searching for. And in 1996, Idaho voters are going to elect even more Republicans to represent them than they did last election year.”
Newly elected U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi, Craig, Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords and Missouri Sen. John Ashcroft were in Nampa for the convention and to perform at Friday night’s session as The Singing Senators.
Both Lott and Batt urged party members to help Dole and Craig carry a message promoting smaller, more responsive government to voters this fall.
“With our overwhelming numbers must come the responsibility to govern wisely and fairly, to ensure that all sides are heard, and to make decisions that benefit the entire state - and not self-interest,” Batt said.
The governor also prepared remarks warning Republicans to avoid repeating “the intra-party struggles that led to our downfall in the 1990 elections.”
But he said immediately after his speech that the remarks were written before a platform was drafted on Thursday that sidesteps controversial, potentially divisive issues.
The convention wraps up today with adoption of the platform and election of Republican National Convention delegates.