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Sheriff Richard Mack, the tea party darling from Texas/Arizona, will return to North Idaho in July – and he didn’t need an invitation from the dysfunctional Kootenai County GOP Central Committee this time. Mack will be a headliner at the Northwest Patriots and Self Reliance Rally at Farragut State Park July 26-28. As you recall, controversial Mack was invited to speak at the 2012 Lincoln Day banquet by the Kootenai County GOP. Then he was disinvited on a split vote of the Central Committee. Finally, he was re-invited when Mack fans in Central Committee leadership threatened legal and criminal action over questionable proxy votes. We’ll see if the second coming of Mack is less eventful than Proxygate/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries. More here.
Question: What do you think of the Northwest Patriots rallying at Farragut State Park?
It looks like Sheriff Richard Mack, the Northwest Patriots and others are planning for a major confab in Farragut State Park at the end of July. Dunno who's organizing this locally.
Question: Do you suppose the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee will welcome Sheriff Mack back with open arms?
Don Sausser answered the SOS from HucksOnline this AM by taking his trusty camera to the corner of 6th & Sherman for this photo of "Art & Soul" by Jason Sanchez, the new public arts piece that replaces controversial Ganesha in downtown Coeur d'Alene.
Ganesha, the controversial sculpture by Spokane artist Rick Davis of an Indian deity, has vacated its yearlong spot at Sixth and Sherman in Coeur d’Alene. On Friday, the elephant-headed idol gave way to a futuristic sculpture by local artist Jason Sanchez, called “Art and Soul,” heralding a new rotation of downtown public art. In June 2011, a few Kootenai County protesters greeted the dedication of Ganesha and 13 other pieces of public art but failed to coax churches to oppose the statue. News of the protest reached as far as India. The furor died down quickly. At the time, Democrat David Larsen quipped to former state Sen. Mary Lou Reed that the demonstrators were really partisan Republicans who objected to Hindus stealing their mascot/DFO, Huckleberries Online. More here. (SR file photo)
Question: Which public arts sculpture would you rather have on the corner of 6th & Sherman — Ganesha, Art & Soul, or neither?
Richard Mack felt apprehensive about coming to Coeur d'Alene. Speaking moments before he was to take the stage as the controversial keynote speaker during the Republican party's primary fundraiser, Mack said he never felt as unwelcome as he did before coming to Coeur d'Alene. "This has never happened to me before," the Republican candidate in Texas for the U.S. House of Representatives told The Press about the decision by the local party to bar him from speaking. But the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee re-invited Mack to speak at its Lincoln Day Dinner and Mack said he was glad to accept it - again. "After I saw the crowd and talked to the people I felt good," he said. "I guess I didn't hurt attendance any"/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: What will be the fallout of this event?
A former Arizona sheriff whose speaking appearance today in North Idaho has created a rift among local Republicans called on Spokane County politicians Friday to make protecting the Constitution their No. 1 priority. Richard Mack disputed claims that he’s a darling of the militia movement in his speech at the Spokane County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner. Mack, who frequently speaks at national tea party events and is an outspoken critic of gun control, said he’s never advocated violence against federal officials. “My message across this country has been one of hope – that we can take our country back in a peaceful manner,” Mack told the packed crowd, which included many Spokane County GOP officials. “Where we take America back is county by county and sheriff by sheriff”/Meghann M. Cuniff, SR. More here.
Question: Put on your prognosticating hat and predict what will happen at the Kootenai County Lincoln Day Dinner tonight, featuring speaker Richard Mack.
Huckleberries has received the minutes of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee meeting of Feb. 28, which includes of the official roll call on a motion by Jeff Ward to disinvite Richard Mack from speaking at the county Lincoln Day Dinner. The motion passed 31-30 but was later overturned unilaterally by the executive committee on a technicality.
- In favor (31): Rodney Twete, Paul Matthews, Fred Meckel, Donna Montgomery, Jan Olsen, Duane Rasmussen, Ronald Honner, Barry McHugh, Luke Sommer, Jacquie Mayor, Peggy Miller, Mike McDowell, Marv Lekstrum, Jim Pierce, Gary Ingram, Julie Chadderdon, Ruth Smith, Kelly Chadderdon, Sharon Culbreth, Linda Nelson, Anita Banta, Joy Seward, Rachel Riggs, Larry Berreth, Jeff Ward, Ron Lahr, Betty Ann Henderson, Ron Nilson, Bob Hollingsworth, Jeff Tyler and Brad Corkill.
- Opposed (30): Roger Benoit, Tom Robinson, Melanie Vanderfeer, Neil Oliver, Brad Salie, Bruce Maddux, Jeannine Frisque, Frank Reid, Ruthie Johnson, Doug Weir, Steve Adams, Allen Richardson, Jim Brannon, Mike Oliver, Bjorn Handeen, Jimmy Masters, Wendy Medlock, Fred Ostermeyer, Bob Whitehead, Bryan Crabtee, Larry Gilman, Joe Malloy, John Cross, Tony Wisniewski, Ronald Mendive, Alice Rankin, Kenneth Chausse, George Mitchell, Duane Thompson, Chairwoman Tina Jacobson.
- GOP Central Committee minutes of Feb. 28 meeting here
Question: Does this vote define which side of the GOP divide county precinct committee members are on, whether Reagan/Reasonable Republican or the Constitutionalist-Libertarian?
A former Arizona sheriff revered by the militia movement for his outspoken criticism of gun control and government tyranny is returning to the Inland Northwest for meetings with local GOP groups, triggering a rift among some Republicans.
Richard Mack, who now lives in Texas and is running for U.S. Congress, is a self-described conservative constitutionalist with ties to various political parties and movements. He served as sheriff of rural Graham County, Arizona as a Democrat, ran unsuccessfully for governor of Utah as a Libertarian and now is trying to unseat a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the GOP’s upcoming Texas primary.
A former Arizona sheriff revered by the militia movement for his outspoken criticism of gun control and government tyranny is returning to the Inland Northwest for meetings with local GOP groups, triggering a rift among some Republicans. Richard Mack, who now lives in Texas and is running for U.S. Congress, is a self-described conservative constitutionalist with ties to various political parties and movements. He served as sheriff of rural Graham County, Arizona as a Democrat, ran unsuccessfully for governor of Utah as a Libertarian and now is trying to unseat a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the GOP’s upcoming Texas primary. He will be a featured speaker at fundraisers for the Republican parties of Spokane and Kootenai counties, though his North Idaho appearance was canceled at one point, then re-established after fraud allegations arose from the intra-GOP process used to disinvite him/Meghann Cuniff, SR. More here.
Question: What will be the long-term fallout from Libertarian-Constitutionalist wing of local GOP forcing Mack onto Reagan/Reasonable Republican wing?
Here's the unofficial list of how Kootenai County GOP CC precinct members voted on the motion to disinvite Richard Mack from speaking at Kootenai County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner March 24. Those voting yes were in support of disinviting Mack:
- Yes: (31) Rod Twete, Paul Matthews, Fred Meckel, Donna Montgomery, Jan Olsen, Duane Rasmussen, Ron Honner, Barry McHugh, Luke Sommer, Jackie Mayo, Peggy Miller, Mike McDowell, Marv Lekstrum, Jim Pierce, Gary Ingram, Ruth Smith, Julie Chadderdon, Kelly Chadderdon (contested ballot), Sharon Culbreth, Linda Nelson, Anita Banta, Joy Seward, Rachel Riggs, Larry Bareth, Jeff Ward, Ron Lahr, Betty Ann Henderson, Ron Nilson, Bob Hollingsworth, Jeff Tyler and Brad Corkill.
- And a list of those who voted against the motion to disinvite: No (30): Roger Benoit, Tom Robinson, Melanie VanderFeer, Neil Oliver, Fred Sali, Bruce Maddox, Jeanie Fritz, Frank Reid, Ruthie Johnson, Doug Weir, Steve Adams, Allen Richardson, Jim Brannon, Mike Oliver, Bjorn Handeen, Jimmy Masters, Wendy Medlock, Fred Ostermeyer, Bob Whiteman, Brad Crabtree, Larry Gilman, Joe Malloy, John Cross, Tony Wisniewski, Ron Mendive, Alice Rankin, Ken Chause, George Mitchell, Duane Thompson, and Tina Jacobson.
- The executive committee voted to overthrow the vote and invited Mack to speak March 24, citing possibly forgery with one of the proxy ballots.
Richard Mack, the controversial speaker for the Kootenai County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner March 24, sent this response to the Coeur d'Alene Press editorial ("What's behind Mack attack") this week: "You entirely used things about me that have very little to do with my record and what I've done. You brought up "militias" and "legalized drugs." Well, I have never been involved with any militia group in my life and you have seen nothing to support that I have. You attempt to make me the "black eye" when I have never committed a crime and have not forged anything relating to this entire situation. But someone appears to have done that there and you focused on me? Whether I am too far right for your tastes has nothing to do with the fact that the dishonesty displayed by some of the neocons in your backyard have nothing to do with my 'extremist' views." More here.
Bonneville County is hard-line conservative speaker Richard Mack’s latest on-again, off-again suitor in Idaho. As of Wednesday afternoon, Bonneville County’s commitment to Mack was off – for now. Mack had been scheduled to speak March 29 at a $15-per-ticket fundraiser for the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee and Republican women of both Jefferson and Fremont counties. But the groups canceled the event. Don Schanz, head of the Bonneville County Republicans, said the cancellation was not related to any controversy over Mack, but rather the difficulty of preparing for his appearance so soon after last week’s caucus. “In fact, I talked to a number of people who were excited about (the event),” Schanz said. “I didn’t even know that there was anyone that would resist it”/Sven Berg, Post Register. More here.
DFO: The Spokesman-Review is preparing a weekend story about Mack's appearance in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene later this month.
Question: Had you heard of Richard Mack before the local controversy erupted?
- Tuesday Poll: Hucks Nation believes that controversial Richard Mack will end up speaking at the Kootenai County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner March 24, despite being invited/disinvited/invited. 46 of 76 respondents (60.53%) said he will ultimately speak at the annual local Republican fundraiser. Only 12 of 76 respondents (15.79%) said Central Committee opponents would prevail and Mack'd be disinvited again. 18 of 76 (23.68%) were undecided.
- Commissioner Poll: A supermajority of Hucks Nation expects Commissioner Dan Green to retain his seat this fall. 70 of 102 respondents (68.63%) picked Green to win, 18 of 102 (17.65%) picked Rathdrum Mayor Vic Holmes, and 14 of 102 (13.73%) picked Larry Spencer.
- Today's Question: Do you support a change in Kootenai County government to county manager form with some elected offices to become appointed ones?
Richard Mack is introduced — often to standing ovations — as "Sheriff Mack." His website calls him that too, even though he hasn't been the top cop of Graham County since 1996, when its population was around 30,000. Mack's mantra is this: The federal government is too big, too corrupt and too oppressive. "The greatest threat we face today is not terrorists; it is our federal government," he warns on his website. If the local Republican Party’s leadership wanted a lightning rod for controversy, someone whose stated beliefs represent the antithesis to the ideals of one great nation that Abraham Lincoln lived and died for, they got one. No wonder several state Republican leaders and numerous local party members are going to find a better way to spend Lincoln Day/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.
Question: Are you planning to hear Richard Mack speak?
The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee's February 28 vote to retract the former Arizona sheriff's invitation to speak at the Lincoln Day Dinner has been tossed by the party's executive board. Mack will be the featured guest speaker, as originally scheduled, at the March 24 Lincoln Day Dinner at The Coeur d’Alene Resort, according to a press release sent out by party chair, Tina Jacobson (pictured). Mack was slated to headline the event, a fundraiser for the Kootenai County Republican Party, but his appearance was canceled following a vote during the February 28 meeting of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee. It was later alleged, based on a private investigation, that the deciding vote for disinviting Mack was a forged proxy ballot/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Will the unilateral action by Chairwoman Tina Jacobson and the Executive Committee to reinvite Richard Mack further divide the splintered Kootenai County Republican Party?
- Tuesday Poll: 84 of 139 respondents (60.43%) supported the 31-30 decision by the Kootenai County GOP CC to disinvite controversial former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack from speaking at the local Lincoln Day Dinner March 24. 35 of 139 respondents (25.18%) disagreed with the decision made Tuesday night. 20 respondents (14.39%) were undecided.
- Urban Renewal Districts: 84 of 139 respondents (62.75%) voted that they don't want to see urban renewal districts eliminated in Idaho. 33 of 102 (32.35%) said they want to see URDs banned altogether. 5 respondents (4.9%) were undecided.
- Today's Poll: Why do you usually visit the Coeur d'Alene Resort?
Larry Spencer might not have much good to say about Jeff Ward of the Reagan Republicans this morning. But I tip my hat to Ward for saving the Kootenai County Republicans from themselves last night. By voting 31-30 to disinvite Richard Mack to speak at the Lincoln Day Dinner March 24, the Republicans avoided the stigma of officially associating themselves with a controversial figure on the right fringe of the political spectrum. It's one thing for the local Tea Party to invite an individual lionized by the militia and Patriot movements in this country. But quite another for the official local Republican Party to do so. The appearance of Mack as a keynote speaker would color how outsiders view the local Republicans and Kootenai County. The move to disinvite Mack may be the local Republicans first step back from the right fringe. The next step would be for the local Republicans to pick true conservatives rather Constitutionalists and Libertarians in the GOP primary election this spring — DFO.
Richard Mack will not be speaking at this year's Lincoln Day Dinner. After nearly two hours of often acrimonious debate, a nearly evenly divided Kootenai County Republican Central Committee voted Tuesday in favor of rescinding the party's invitation to Mack, a Tea Party activist and former Arizona sheriff, to be the keynote speaker at their March 24 dinner and fundraiser. The roll call vote of 31-30 was taken after the party chair, Tina Jacobson (pictured), defended the procedure followed to select Mack and chided a group of elected precinct committee members for signing a letter opposing Mack's selection and giving the letter to members of the media. "We've had discussions in this room about airing our laundry in the press," Jacobson said. She said going to the newspapers with party business hurts the organization and shows divisiveness. "And the Democrats are passing the popcorn," Jacobson said/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Did Kootenai County Republicans help/hurt themselves by disinviting controversial Richard Mack to speak at their Lincoln Day Dinner March 24?
The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee opposed the guest speaker planned for local Republicans' annual Lincoln Day Dinner by a 31-30 vote tonight. Richard Mack, an Arizona sheriff in the 1990s, has been under fire locally since 14 GOP leaders signed a letter opposing his appearance at the annual fundraiser. The vote taken tonight was launched on a motion by Jeff Ward, a precinct committeeman and key Reagan Republicans figure. HucksOnline hasn't learned whether the vote will be binding and Mack disinvited. After the meeting, Ward was confronted by angry Coeur d'Alene Councilman Steve Adams. The meeting adjourned without the scheduled Central Committee practice for the March 6 caucuses.
Kathryn M. DeLong, of the conservative Human Events mag, offers more insight into the ongoing battle between Richard Mack and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Mack, an Arizona sheriff in the 1990s and board member of the relatively new Oath Keepers group, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Kootenai County Republican Lincoln Day dinner. He may have filed a suit against the SPLC, alledging defamation, libel, and slander. In the article, SPLC spokesman Mark Potok says that the Oath Keepers pledge to uphold the Constitution is simply a facade to cover "very specific conspiratorial fears which are absolutely groundless" of militia and Patriot groups. Stewart Rhodes, who founded the Oath Keepers in 2009, said such characterizations by opponents of Oath Keepers are "smear tactics." You can read the article here.
For those keeping score at home, Richard Mack, controversial speaker of the Kootenai County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner, is listed among the "Patriots" spotlighted by the Southern Poverty Law Center in a summer 2010 Intelligence Report. Of Mack, the SPLC says: "It seems hardly a day goes by without another Mack attack on the evils of the federal government. This one-time sheriff of a rural county in Arizona and present-day icon of the Patriot movement has parlayed his antigovernment ardor into a full-time job doing speaking gigs at county fairgrounds, high school auditoriums and hotel banquet rooms." The SPLC, which is being sued by Mack claming slander, libel & defamation, also notes that the prospective speaker hasn't been a sheriff in Arizona since 1996 and that he co-authored a book with Ruby Ridge figure Randy Weaver. More here. In a fall 2009 Intelligence Report, SPLC describes Mack as part of the Oath Keeper movement and a hero of the militia movement. You can read that report here. (Wikipedia photo of Richard Mack)
Ex-Arizona sheriff Richard Mack said Friday (of the challenge by some Kootenai County Republicans to his scheduled Lincoln Day speech: "If Republicans support the Constitution, less government, individual liberty, less taxation, and standing for States' rights and against a $16 trillion debt, then they will like my presentation. I absolutely guarantee it." He said he's honored to be invited to speak at the event. "I have quoted (former President Ronald) Reagan and Lincoln frequently in my books and throughout my career," Mack said. "Jeff Ward is president of the Reagan Republicans. Does he not know that Reagan was once a Democrat?" Mack said that while he was registered as a Democrat, "I was the first sheriff in American history to sue the federal government and the head of the Democratic Party, Bill Clinton, on the issue of state sovereignty." He said he won that case in the U.S. Supreme Court/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Have you always been a member of your current political party?
In a letter to the Coeur d'Alene Press (re: GOP faction opposes Richard Mack speech), Thomas Robinson, GOPrecinct 2 Committeeman from Spirit Lake writes: "Of the Central Committee members who signed the letter, one has been to one meeting since the last primary, one attended two, and five more have missed five to 15 meetings. If they would get involved, perhaps they would know more. That would require some effort on their part, but they think they should be the VIP boss, and the VIP doesn’t work. Since they aren’t the VIP, they would rather sulk and complain. On one of my shifts at the county fair, one of your complainers showed up. He sat in the back of the booth the whole shift, talking on his phone. Did no work. Haven’t noticed a lot of them participating at the three parades I was in, either." More here. (Wikipedia photo of Richard Mack)
Question: Would you want to hear controversial ex-Arizona sheriff Richard Mack speak?
The selection of Richard Mack as the keynote speaker at the Kootenai County Republican Party's March 24 Lincoln Day Dinner isn't sitting well with a group of prominent party members. Mack, a self-described "constitutional conservative" and frequent speaker on the national Tea Party circuit, is a former Arizona sheriff. Now living in Texas, Mack is running for Congress in his district's Republican primary. A letter opposing Mack's appearance at the annual Republican party dinner and fundraiser was sent Monday to county party chair Tina Jacobson (pictured) and secretary Lorri Erickson. It was signed by 14 elected Central Committee members. Letter signer Jeff Ward, Precinct 23 Committeeman and president of the Idaho Federation of Reagan Republicans, told The Press they are troubled by the selection of Mack because "he's been fairly hostile to the Republican party." "It just doesn't make any sense to me," he said/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Anyone care to read the tea leaves here re: division among Kootenai County Republicans?
14 key Kootenai County Republicans have signed a letter to Central Committee Chairwoman Tina Jacobson objecting to the selection of former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack (pictured) as the Lincoln Day Dinner keynote speaker. Here's a sample of the text: "Mr. Mack has been presented to us as a former Sheriff and a Republican candidate for Congress. Upon further research, it is quite evident that Mr. Mack’s support of the Republican Party and Republican Party candidates is inconsistent, intermittent and questionable. He does not appear to have ever shared the common goal of promoting the Republican Party and our Republican candidates. In fact, Mr. Mack’s political history has shown a consistent opposition to the Republican Party and a strong affinity to other political parties, including the Democrat, Libertarian and Constitution Parties. Mr. Mack was elected twice as a Democrat to the office of county sheriff in Arizona and defeated for re-election as a Democrat in 1996." The letter was signed by Lori Gervais, chairwoman of the 3rd Legislative District & 13 precinct committeemen. Full letter here.
OutofStaterTater: If I’m late to the party on this topic, I apologize, but I thought this was totally sweet: the keynote for the Kootenai County Lincoln Day this year is Sheriff Richard Mack, who regularly speaks to, and works with…wait for it…The John Birch Society. Ok, so that’s not totally sweet. Actually, it’s an embarassment. Yes folks, the John Birch Society - the group that accused Eisenhower of being a communist operative. The group that thought Reagan was a liberal and a sellout to the left. ?!? The group that regularly peddles paranoid conspiracy theories and thinly-veiled anti-Semitism. And Sheriff Mack apparently thinks that’s all ok. So does the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, apparently. Yow.
Question: Are there any official John Birch Society groups meeting in the Inland Northwest?
Former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack (pictured), a Tea Party activist, will be the guest speaker of the 2012 Lincoln Dinner & Fundraiser staged by the Kootenai County Republican Party at the Coeur d'Alene Resort at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 24. A news release just received by HucksOnline describes Mack as "a powerful, experience speaker, a strong advocate of states' rights and individual freedoms." He will discuss "the County Sheriff Project, the Oath of Office, citizens' personal freedoms and the importance of the office of Sheriff to defend those freedoms." General admission to the event if $50 per person. You can read more here.
Question: What is the "County Sheriff Project"?
It’s always nice when other parts of the country notice us in the Inland Northwest, right?
OK, not always. The New York Times has a large story on the Tea Party Movement that prominently features folks from North Idaho and Eastern Washington. And by prominently, we mean from the first paragraph, right through to the last.
You can read it by clicking here. Feel free to click on the comment button above and let other readers know what you think.