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Eye On Boise

The GOP convention: ‘Positive and inspiring’ or ‘astounding’ and ‘radical’?

It's hard to imagine two more different takes on the outcome of the recent Idaho Republican Party convention than those in statements issued by state GOP Chairman Norm Semanko and Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Keith Roark. Semanko called the Idaho Falls gathering "positive and inspiring," and wrote, "More than 500 delegates, elected by their peers from across the state, packed the convention hall in Idaho Falls to welcome their candidates and share in a common goal. ... Americans -- Republicans, Democrats and independents alike -- are frustrated and they want to be heard by their elected leaders. As the party of ideas, only the Republican Party has been listening. At our State Convention, we embraced these ideals and united behind our candidates statewide." Semanko entitled his statement, "Republican State Convention: Toppling Obama's Ivory Tower."

Roark, whose statement was headed, "Idaho Republican Party Finally Leaves Idaho Voters Behind," said the state's voters are "astounded at the radical right-hand turn taken by the Idaho Republican Party at its recent state convention." He blasted platform planks from repealing direct election of U.S. senators to a loyalty oath for candidates to a call for an elected GOP nominee to step down because he also supported some Democrats. "The Republicans proposed measures so far out of the mainstream that Idahoans should be disturbed that they were even considered," Roark wrote. "If you are tired, irritated and frightened by the right wing extremism of the Idaho Republican Party you are always welcome in our big tent.”

You can read Semanko's statement here, and Roark's statement here.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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