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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

GOP move puts Idaho primary in doubt

Idaho’s Republican Party Central Committee, at its meeting in Moscow, Idaho, on Saturday, approved moving to a caucus system – like the Idaho Democrats’ – for its presidential delegate selection in 2012, making the state’s presidential primary 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.”

The GOP central committee meeting also saw nine 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 Environmental Protection Agency out of the Silver Valley and put the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality in charge of cleaning up mining contamination; and a resolution to study a gold currency to replace the “failing” U.S. dollar.

Also approved by the state 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 to forbid the state Land Board from “investing in or owning any business that competes in the private sector”; and one to push Otter to back gun rights including allowing firearms on state college campuses.

The only two that didn’t pass: one backing a since-abandoned rule change to let local party committees vet primary ballot candidates, which was withdrawn; and one backing state Fish and Game rules regarding use of ATVs by hunters, which was tabled.

The GOP meeting saw lots of debate – the resolutions committee debated for two and a half hours, and the full meeting ran until 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.