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Troupis withdraws backing of fellow Republican Wasden for Idaho AG

Comment by Democrat triggers split in GOP

BOISE – Less than a week after the Idaho Republican Party gathered for a rally on the steps of the state Capitol, where vanquished challengers pledged to support the primary election victors and move forward as a united party, the proclaimed unity is splintering.

C.T. “Chris” Troupis said Tuesday that he’s withdrawing his endorsement of current Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, who’s running for re-election. Troupis lost to Wasden in the Republican primary, 59 percent to 40 percent, but announced his endorsement of his opponent at the unity rally the morning after last Tuesday’s Idaho primary election.

Troupis said he changed his mind about the endorsement after learning that Democratic nominee Bruce Bistline said he won’t actively campaign against Wasden. Bistline told The Spokesman-Review that his differences with Wasden are “fairly nominal,” but that he would have campaigned if the GOP nominee had been Troupis, with whom he said his differences are “legion.” Troupis also isn’t backing Bistline.

Troupis said, “I’d really like some assurances from Mr. Wasden that he’s not in line with the Democratic candidate for attorney general. If they’re on the same page, then I feel pretty stupid endorsing basically a Democrat.” He added, “Now, if Mr. Wasden does have differences, significant differences, and he can point those out to me, then I’d be happy to reconsider.”

Troupis said he doesn’t expect pushback from the party for his change of heart because it won’t likely change the race’s outcome.

“I’m just wanting to be consistent philosophically with my positions,” he said. “I needed to do it for myself.”

Wasden had no comment Tuesday. At the unity rally last week, where he spoke just before Troupis, Wasden said, “I congratulate my opponent on a very vigorous campaign. It is important that we recognize the values that we have and why we’re Republicans.”

Troupis said, “I don’t think the unity rally was any kind of a sham. We’re trying to support the party. I think I have a different vision for where the party ought to be.”

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