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Huckleberries Online

Idaho GOP Undercuts Nonpartisanship

In their hurry to ensure party purity, the Idaho Republican Party indirectly undercut the nonpartisan tradition of local government. Then, that probably was a part of the thinking of the Republican schemers of the Far Right wing who fought in court and through the Legislature to close primaries to Independents and other non-party members. Consider. In the past, such nonpartisan office holders as the city mayor, council members, school board members, and road commissioners were able to run for office without revealing their political affiliation. I can guess at the political sympathies of some local mayors and council members but I don't know for sure (other than Coeur d'Alene Councilman Mike Kennedy, who has Democratic pedigree and has been the target of local Republican attacks for years now). Beginning in spring 2012, I'll know the party affiliation of my mayor and councilmen, however. Sandi Bloem, Clay Larkin, and other mayors and council members will have to register with one party or the other in order to vote in the primaries. If they register as Democrats, I'll guarantee you that the ideologues running the Kootenai County GOP machine will target them in subsequent elections. If they do the safe thing and register as Republicans, I would imagine that Democrats and Independent constituents will look at them differently. And wonder if controversial votes are prompted by politics or the public good. It'll officially introduce partisanship into nonpartisan races -- DFO.

Question: Would you consider not voting in the 2012 primary to keep your politics private, if you were an elected official in a nonpartisan office?

D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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