Eye on Boise: Twin Falls GOP committee hopeful draws party’s ire

BOISE – Good grief – it’s happened again. It turns out that it’s not only up north that one warring GOP faction has tried to hijack another one’s name, as in Kootenai County Reagan Republicans vs. Kootenai County Reagan Republicans Inc. It’s happening in Twin Falls, too.

Down there, the chair of the Twin Falls GOP Central Committee, Gretchen Clelland, sent out a press release the day before Tuesday’s primary election warning that election materials being distributed by Rick Martin, who was challenging an incumbent precinct committeeman, said, “Paid for by Republican Central Committee of Twin Falls County, Inc.”

“This deception should in NO WAY lead anyone to believe that the Twin Falls Republican Party, or ANY official Republican organization IN ANY WAY supports Rick Martin or his tactics,” Clelland wrote. “Whatever the ‘Republican Central Committee of Twin Falls County, Inc.’ is, it is absolutely NOT ASSOCIATED WITH THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN ANY WAY.”

Otter six for seven

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter endorsed seven candidates in last week’s GOP primary for legislative seats – all but one won. The exception: Former Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake, who lost a rematch with Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, who unseated him two years ago.

The others: Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, who defeated Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, in a redistricting-forced face-off; Todd Lakey, who defeated Rep. Bob Schaefer, R-Nampa, in the GOP primary for an open Senate seat; Rep. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, who won a three-way GOP primary for an open Senate seat in District 14; Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, who defeated challenger Maurice Clements; appointed Sen. Jim Rice, who beat Kent Marmon in the GOP primary for John McGee’s former Senate seat in District 10; and Rick Youngblood, who won a three-way GOP primary for an open House seat in District 12.

Support or shut up?

At the Idaho Republican Party’s election-night watch party at the Riverside Hotel in Boise, party Chairman Norm Semanko led off by introducing Otter; there were few election results in yet, just a smattering of numbers from a few counties. Otter talked about the race for the White House and California’s problems – repeating his earlier comment that “if California were my horse, I’d shoot it, it is so sick” – and forgot to introduce his wife, Lori. He also made no mention of the unprecedented divisiveness in the Idaho GOP this primary election season, saying only, “Let’s bring this party together and go into November with victory on our minds and victory as our banner.”

State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna gave a campaign pitch for his “Students Come First” school reform laws, which are up for a referendum vote in November. “We know what’s best for our children, and when we go to the polls in November we are going to vote yes … to keep these laws,” he told the GOP crowd.

House Speaker Lawerence Denney blamed the media for the rift in the House GOP leadership, in which Majority Leader Mike Moyle openly tried to defeat Majority Caucus Chair Ken Roberts by backing his primary challenger. The media, Denney said, “were trying to drive a wedge.” Denney, who signed checks from a House GOP leadership PAC that went to another PAC that unsuccessfully targeted Roberts for defeat, said he’d had Roberts in his living room a week earlier, and the two joined hands and prayed.

Semanko said as party members awaited the results, “We want you to talk about what you’re going to do this November to make sure all of our candidates win.” And GOP congressman Raul Labrador told the crowd, “We have the choice of supporting the candidates that win (the GOP primary), or we have the choice of shutting the heck up.”

Honors for heroism

Two firefighters and two state troopers rescued two children trapped in an overturned car in Fernan Lake. A Jerome police officer risked his life to apprehend a suspect during a high-speed pursuit in Jerome, even after being shot in the eye. Two Lewiston police officers rescued a victim who was trapped in a burning apartment.

All are among the 10 peace officers and two firefighters who are being awarded the Idaho Medal of Honor this year, which was bestowed in a ceremony Friday at the Idaho Peace Officers Memorial in Meridian.

“These twelve professionals have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their commitment to the service of others,” said Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, chairman of the Idaho Medal of Honor Commission.

The medal was created in 2004, and the first honoree was slain Idaho State Trooper Linda Huff.

The local honorees this year are Coeur d’Alene Fire Department Captain/Paramedic Richard Halligan and firefighter/EMT Donald Porter; and, from the Idaho State Police, Cpl. Allen Ashby and Senior Specialist Gerald Stemm.

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