Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Ron Lahr confirmed Tuesday that he and Jeff Ward are no longer partners in the political consulting firm called Strategery. “To deal with the attacks of perceived conflicts of interest between Strategery and the Reagan Republican group,” Lahr said, “I am buying Jeff out and changing the name to Umbrella Consulting.” Over the past few years, Lahr said people have been criticizing Lahr and Ward for the close association between the Reagan Republicans, which is a political club, and Strategery, which managed campaigns for many of the candidates that are endorsed, and sometimes recruited, by the Reagan Republicans/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Does this put pressure on Balance North Idaho and the Range PR firm, which has similar overlap, to follow suit?
As you know, I'm not a fan of the attempt by the Reagan Republicans to insert their endorsees into nonpartisan offices in Coeur d'Alene under the name “Republican.” I like RR founders Ron Lahr and Jeff Ward. But I consider the successes they've had so far (think: Coeur d'Alene Councilman Steve Adams and, mebbe, NIC Trustee Todd Banducci) has hurt good government in my hometown. However, there is a silver lining to Ron & Jeff's pedal-to-the-metal attempt to make everything about Hard Right partisanship. The Coeur d'Alene School Board and Kootenai Hospital District campaigns have come under intense scrutiny. In the past, these nonpartisan elections have been snoozers for all but insiders. Ditto for the North Idaho College trustee elections. I've never voted in a hospital election. In fact, I wouldn't know who the candidates are, without the decision by the Reagan Republicans to attempt to expand their political turf by establishing a beach head at KMC with two endorsees. The Reagan Republicans' takeover of the controversial Coeur d'Alene School Board is another example of the heightening attention paid to this important nonpartisan election. Trustee forums have attracted good audiences, including a packed one at the Mica Grange. The rise of Balance North Idaho is a direct result of the controversial action by the Reagan Republicans to insert partisanship into nonpartisan offices. The Reagan Republicans deserve credit in spotlighting offices that draw poor voter turnouts. That should trigger a bigger turnout than usual. I'm hoping, for the sake of good local government, however, that most of their candidates lose/DFO.
A public relations company tied closely to a Kootenai County Republican organization was paid $86,000 by eight candidates involved in the local 2012 GOP primary – five of whom won. Ron Lahr, of Post Falls, who is president of both the Strategery Group and the influential Reagan Republicans, told Huckleberries his PR organization is a “labor of love.” Lahr claims much of the money collected from candidates is used to buy campaign material. Another operative straddling the Reagan Republican/Strategery divide is Lahr buddy Jeff Ward, the Idaho Reagan Republican president who is listed as a Strategery senior consultant. Payments to Strategery Group from the eight county and legislative GOPrimary candidates, all of whom were endorsed by Lahr’s Reagan Republicans, ranged from $3,421 from Commissioner Todd Tondee to $18,995 from commission Chairman Dan Green/DFO, Huckleberries print. More here.
We've been discussing the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans and The Strategery Group this week. Ron Lahr (above) is president of both entities. Reagan Republicans actively promote political candidates in partisan and nonpartisan races. Strategery is Lahr's public relations wing, which has provided material and strategy for candidates ranging from school board to the Idaho Legislature. 8 candidates, 5 of whom were successful, paid Strategery a combined $86,000 for its work in the local GOPrimary in May. The photo above by the Phantom Photographer shows Lahr at a Reagan Republican meeting at the Fedora several months ago.
Question: Why do you think Ron is frowning?
In response to a comment by Ron Burgundy this morning, Ron Lahr confirmed that his Strategery company is handling public relations to pass the proposed Kootenai County government change measure on the November ballot. Ron, who is president of The Strategery Group as well as the county Reagan Republicans, commented: “The Strategery Group has been hired by Streamline Kootenai County. The Reagan Republicans board has not discussed the ballot measure although there are board members who both support it and oppose it.” Huckleberries has asked for more information about Streamline Kootenai County, which Ron describes as “The group organized to pass the ballot measure proposed by the county commissioners.” Huckleberries wants to know whether Streamline Kootenai County is privately or publicly funded — and who are the principals behind the group. (ESPN-AM 1080 photo of Strategery/Reagan Republican prez Ron Lahr after a recent show)
Question: Do you think the Reagan Republicans will be on-board with this attempt to change Kootenai County government?
This slick flyer will be circulating soon with Reagan Republican endorsements in the general election in November. I totally disagree with their support of Tom Luna's wrecking-ball “reforms” for Idaho education. Ditto re: North Idaho College endorsements. It'll be interesting to see how much the NIC trustee wannabes spend with Ron Lahr's Strategery this fall.
Candidates endorsed by the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans in contested Republican primaries in Kootenai County last spring spent almost $86,000 for campaign support with Strategery, a public relations firm that lists Reagan Republican principals Ron Lahr as president and Jeff Ward as general consultant (click here). This, according to 7-day pre-election and 30-day post-election campaign finance reports. Candidates in the four contested GOP races for Kootenai County elected office spent $42,509 with Strategery, with incumbent Commissioner Dan Green at the head of the list with expenditures with Lahr's company totaling $18,995. About half of the expenditures were made after the required 7-day pre-election financial report. In the 5 contested legislative races in Districts 2-3, Reagan Republican endorsees spent $43,375 with Lahr's Strategery, including $19,871 reported after the 7-day pre-election period. The only endorsee who didn't spend anything with Strategery in the primary was state Sen. Steve Vick. 3 of the 8 Reagan Republican endorsees failed to win their primaries: Keith Hutcheson (sheriff), Jeff Tyler (House District 3) and Mark Fisher (House District 2). You can see Reagan Republican endorsements for the general election here. You can see how much each Reagan Republican endorsee spent with Strategery in the 2012 GOP primary below:
GOP county primaries:
- Sheriff — Keith Hutcheson ($10,443)
- Prosecutor — Barry McHugh ($9650)
- Commissioner — Dan Green ($18995)
- Commissioner — Todd Tonde ($3421)
GOP legislative primaries
- House District 2 — Ed Morse ($12,164) and Mark Fisher ($12625)
- House District 3 — Jeff Tyler ($10273) and Frank Henderson ($8313)
The Kootenai County Reagan Republicans say they have retained an attorney and have begun raising money to prepare for a legal fight to protect their brand name. Ron Lahr of the Reagan Republicans said Thursday the money is being raised through the group's political action committee, the KCRR Victory Fund. In its newsletter this week, the group asked for money from its members. “If you are against dirty politics, please donate to the KCRR Victory Fund,” the letter said. Lahr said the group's attorney, James Bendell, has determined that the past use is well established and future use may continue unchanged” — David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Which side should prevail here?
During the recent Primary Season the KCRR was attacked by the opponents of our endorsed candidates in an attempt to steal our name - the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans. While this attempt to intimidate us into not using our name in support of our endorsed candidates failed, while setting a new low for despicable behavior in Kootenai County politics, now that the primary is over we are still fighting to protect our name. We have retained the services of a lawyer and will be pursuing this legal battle as far as we have to in order to retain sole use of our name. More here.
- Original story: Reagan Republicans feel like victims of identity theft/Coeur d'Alene Press
Question: Who do you want to win the battle for the name of Reagan Republicans?
In a press release signed by Jeff Alltus (pictured at recent Tea Party event), Hendrick Mills and Cliff Noll, a new group explains why it lays claim to the name “Kootenai County Reagan Republicans”:
We have formed Kootenai County Reagan Republicans to safeguard the conservative values that we associate with President Ronald Reagan. It is Ronald Reagan who has had his identity stolen by a group calling themselves “Reagan Republicans“. The flyers recently mailed to Kootenai County residents from the so-called “Reagan Republicans” mislead voters into thinking Ronald Reagan would have supported all of these candidates, (WWRD). It is as if this group has taken the name of Ronald Reagan in vain. Many people have accused the “Reagan Republicans” of charging candidates $5000 to get the “Reagan Republican” endorsement, we wanted to remove the perception that candidates were buying endorsements.” More here.
Question: Which Reagan Republican group best reflects the principles of the late Republican president?
The Kootenai County Reagan Republicans late Friday were served with a letter informing them somebody else has the rights to the group's name and ordering them to cease use. In the letter, addressed to Reagan Republican representatives Ron Lahr and Jeff Ward, an attorney wrote that his clients have registered the name “Kootenai County Reagan Republicans” with the Idaho Secretary of State. “You are expressly forbidden to use, promote, display, print or produce any document, media or other communication in any form that includes the name 'Kootenai County Reagan Republicans,'” the letter states. It says all references to the name have to be removed from the Reagan Republicans' website and campaign communications. Lahr, of the Reagan Republicans, reached late Friday, said, “I look at this as identity theft”/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. And: Original weekend thread here.
Question: So what's happening here?
Item: Name's the same: Reagan Republicans feel like victims of 'identity theft'/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press
A Berry Picker emails: “I heard some scuttlebutt about the (Reagan Republicans) being under investigation. It looks like they didn't register with the Secretary of State's office and now someone else has registered/hijacked the name Reagan Republicans and a bunch of related names. They were all atwitter about it over at Chuckleberries and posted a link to the SOS site. I checked it out and it looks like there's no Ron Lahr or Jeff Ward listed on there. … I've never heard of the guy who registered all these names, but it looks like Republican politics is getting weirder by the minute.” Hayden attorney Scott Poorman, representing the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans and Clifford Noll, has sent Jeff Ward and Ron Lahr a letter demanding that they cease using the name Kootenai County Reagan Republicans “for any purpose whatsoever.” The letter is posted on the Chuckleberries Online Web site here. Another Berry Picker emailed Huckleberries: “This has turned into a war it would appear.” Chuckleberries supports United Conservatives of North Idaho, an arch rival of the Ward/Lahr Reagan Republicans. Or whatever they're calling themselves now.
Question: What do you think is going on here?
MikeK: Looks like the head of the “Strategery Group” is making out pretty well with all this (Reagan Republicans) campaign money floating around. Someone should start tracking how many campaigns spend money with the “Strategery Group” and who actually runs the “Strategery Group”. They’ve been receiving money from school board election candidates, city council candidates, and legislative candidates. What I wonder is - who’s benefitting from all this money? It gets raised and then seems to all go back into the pockets of the “Strategery Group”. Curious.
- Reagan Republicans have filed two, 48-hour financial disclosure report with Coeur d'Alene City Clerk Susan Weathers in which they report receiving $1500 more in each of the forms. They both look like this here.
Question: I'm curious why the Reagan Republicans weren't required by law to break down the contributions they received to raise $10,000 to push their candidates in local elections. Anyone?
Re: Reagan Repub: Amber is a contendah/HucksOnline
Ron Lahr/Reagan Republicans: I haven’t met Amber but i remember Reagan Repub posting that ‘Pachyderms is conservative Steve Adams territory.’ Steve also has a history on the central committee and with the Reagan Republicans while Amber is a political newcomer. Even were she to register as a Republican it would not undo those things. That said, it is hard to imagine her pulling many votes from either Adams or Bruning because apparently she doesn’t have any political activism history/name recognition, a campaign warchest, many supporters or any organizations backing her.
Question: Who do you think has a better chance of pulling an upset — Amber Copeland in three-way race with John Bruning & Steve Adams? Or Adam Graves in two-way race with Ron Edinger?
Ron Lahr's congratulatory note to the Reagan Republicans this AM: “Congratulations to all the candidates and volunteers who worked on last night's races. Condolences to the KCRR members and endorsed candidates who didn't win. Still, we broke the stranglehold the Dems have had on Cd'A non-partisan offices with the wins by Tom and Terry and we helped keep Marv & Monty in office despite two pairs of challengers. We also got Bonnie elected to the Post Falls school board so all in all it was a great night.” (Photo from Ron Lahr's Facebook page)
Jeff Ward: “Gone are the days that the Democrats in Kootenai County can fool the voters by hiding under the camouflage of non-partisan office.”
Question: Are you as enthusiastic as Ron is re: the election results in the local school trustee and highway district elections?
I’ve seen these signs around brilliant red northern Idaho and wonder if the Republicans are so worried about their candidate losing they have to stoop to this. Or do the Democrats have a death wish? Curious, I asked a friend who is a mover and shaker with the Dems and was advised to note the sponsoring name on the poster. Hmmm. Seems the name is that of a VP of the Reagan Republicans! Whether or not his organization gave it’s blessing is something I don’t know. He certainly has the right as an individual to do as he pleases. If it’s a personal issue or a party issue, the party is tarred with it/Dogwalk Musings. More here.
Question: Have you decided whether this is a clever idea or a dirty trick yet?
In the comments section, Larry Spencer is excited about a political sign that Boise talk shower Austin Hill is calling a “game-changer” for the Minnick campaign (the one above). But a closer look at the small print below the main wording tells a very different story: “Paid for by Ron Lahr and not authorized by any candidate or candidates committee.” It gives a Post Falls address. Minnick aide John Foster adamantly told Hucks Online that Minnick’s campaign had nothing to do with this sign. He considers it a dirty political trick and is “exploring legal options” re: campaign finance laws. Later, in the comments section under this post, Lahr, a Reagan Republican, writes: “The sign is just a reminder to people that Minnick is a Democrat since his own campaign materials neglect to mention it. A dirty trick? Hardly.”
- Originally posted at 5:25 p.m. Wednesday
Question: Do you consider this to be a dirty trick or clever politics?