Grant Loebs, the chairman of the Idaho GOP’s legislative District 24 and a member of the state Central Committee – and also the Twin Falls county prosecutor – says in his view, state GOP Chairman Barry Peterson’s term ends on June 24, which is next Tuesday. “The chairman is elected for a two-year term,” Loebs said, and Peterson was elected at the party’s 2012 convention in Twin Falls on June 23. The chairman’s term is described in two ways in the party rules, Loebs said, both as a two-year term, and one that ends when the next chairman is elected and takes office immediately at the state convention, which could be slightly less than two years. “So one way or the other, he’s out on the 24th at the very latest,” he said.
Loebs said he viewed last night’s rules committee meeting, which Peterson convened, as without any effect. “A committee which was improperly constituted was called upon to answer questions they have no prerogative to answer and to make pronouncements that they have no power to make,” Loebs said. “This committee was treated as some kind of a supreme court, when in fact its only job is to advise and recommend things to the state Central Committee.”
Said Loebs, “It’s kind of a tin-horn dictator type coup. And the question is what do you do when somebody stages a coup and has the office and changes the locks and has their hands on the bank account and the computer systems, how do you get them out of there? In this country, we don’t do it through violence, so we have to work through all the processes that are available to us.”
“In my view,” he said, “on the 24th, things will be even more clear, and on that day, Mike Mathews, first vice chairman, will be the highest-ranking Republican Party official in Idaho, and it will be incumbent upon him to find a way to select a new chairman, and the rules are quite clear on how that is done.” Loebs said the first vice chairman in that situation can call a Central Committee meeting to fill the vacancy.