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Monday, March 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Most high-profile Idaho Republicans say they’d back Trump if he’s nominated

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump autographs for supporters during a rally at Wexford County Civic Center, Friday, March 4, 2016, in Cadillac, Mich. (Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump autographs for supporters during a rally at Wexford County Civic Center, Friday, March 4, 2016, in Cadillac, Mich. (Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)

Among high-profile elected Republicans in Idaho, Donald Trump isn’t a popular first choice. But most say they’re willing to vote for him if he wins the GOP nomination.

Here’s a breakdown of what some of them have said about their support for Trump:

GOP officials who say they will back or likely will back Trump if he’s the nominee:

Gov. Butch Otter has endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich. He told reporters last month, “I’m all in with the Republican nominee – there’s some that I could support a little more.” Two weeks later, he endorsed Kasich and joined the Kasich campaign as a national co-chair. “There’s simply no substitute for executive experience,” Otter said then. “His record of results is unmatched by any other candidate, and it is time for Republicans to coalesce around his vision for our nation.” But he continues to say he’ll be “all in” with the GOP nominee, whoever it is.

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo isn’t endorsing anyone in the presidential race, and he’s sticking to that. “He said he probably will not endorse anybody until we select the nominee, and then he will support the nominee, whether it’s Trump, Cruz, Rubio or the others,” said Crapo spokesman Lindsay Northern.

North Idaho legislators are mixed in whom they support in Tuesday’s GOP primary. “I haven’t decided,” said Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene. “I’m not a big Trump fan, but I will support him if he happens to be the candidate. I lean toward Cruz and Rubio.”

Asked if they’d support Donald Trump for president if he wins the Republican nomination, both state House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, and state Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, said yes. “I will support our party’s nominee,” Bedke said. “Absolutely,” Hill said. “Considering the alternatives, that’s an easy choice for me.”

State Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, said he signed on with the Ted Cruz campaign several months ago. “I think he has been the most consistent conservative of the bunch. He has at least taken principled stands, and I appreciate that,” Vick said. Asked what he’d do if Trump were the nominee, Vick said, “At this point I think that I would vote for Trump, although his positions change so often that I will have to reserve that right until closer to the election. But at this point I would vote for him.”

GOP officials who haven’t decided or haven’t said if they would back Trump if he wins the nomination:

U.S. Sen. Jim Risch has endorsed Marco Rubio. “I have made two decisions,” he said Friday. “I will not vote for either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders under any circumstances of any kind, and I am all the way in for Marco Rubio. I have not made any other decisions.”

U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, who represents North Idaho, was Western states chairman for Rand Paul’s GOP presidential campaign. After Paul bowed out, Labrador endorsed Ted Cruz. He didn’t respond to repeated inquiries about what he’d do if Trump were the nominee. “I think Sen. Cruz is the only candidate that can unite conservatives in the Republican Party and is the best positioned to beat Hillary Clinton in the general election,” he told the Idaho Statesman.

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