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Eye On Boise

Idaho GOP votes for caucus instead of presidential primary, approves controversial resolutions

Idaho's GOP Central Committee, at its meeting in Moscow today, approved moving to a caucus system – like the Idaho Democrats' – for its presidential delegate selection in 2012, making the state's presidential primary election meaningless for both parties. “It would just make it irrelevant,” said Jonathan Parker, Idaho GOP executive director. “So (Idaho Secretary of State) Ben (Ysursa) and I have talked about reaching out to the Democrats … (about) getting a bill through that would just eliminate it altogether.”

Today's GOP central committee meeting also saw 9 of 11 proposed resolutions approved, including a “China-Beachhead” resolution declaring that GOP Gov. Butch Otter’s “Project 60” trade-building initiative is a bid by the Chinese to take over Idaho’s sovereignty, and calling on the Legislature to look into it; a resolution to kick the EPA out of the Silver Valley and instead put the Idaho DEQ in charge of mining contamination cleanup there; and a resolution to study a gold currency to replace the “failing” U.S. dollar. Also approved by the Idaho Republican Party's central governing body:  A resolution from the Boundary County GOP to prevent school districts from running tax levy votes for a year after one fails; one from GOP Vice Chair Todd Hatfield to forbid the state Land Board from “investing in or owning any business that competes in the private sector;” and one from William Roberts of Boise County to push Otter to back gun rights including allowing firearms on state college campuses.

A resolution from John Blattler, Boise County GOP chairman, to back a since-abandoned proposed rule change to have county party committees screen primary election candidates, was pulled “because obviously it was irrelevant,” Parker said. And a measure backing more high-tech efforts by county parties passed with amendments, while one backing Idaho Fish & Game rules for ATV use by hunters cleared the resolutions committee, but was pulled before it went to the full central committee. “A lot of people thought it needed more debate,” Parker said. “It will probably be brought up again.”

The GOP meeting saw lots of debate – the resolutions committee debated for two and a half hours, and the full meeting ran 'til 5:30 p.m., when it was supposed to be over by 3:30. “I thought it was great - it was a very energetic crowd, lively debate,” Parker said. The meeting, he said, reinforced to him that the Idaho GOP is a “party of ideas,” because “ideas were discussed and debated.”

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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