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Conventional Wisdom

The Idaho Republican Convention happened last weekend and it was a success in multiple ways. The three day event began with committee meetings held at The Coeur d’Alene Resort and ended with a General Session at NIC’s Schuler Auditorium. The NIC catering staff supplied a delicious lunch for 750 people on both Friday and Saturday. Friday night was the Idaho Republican Gala Dinner at The Resort Convention Center with speeches by Dorothy Moon, Raul Labrador, Bill Whittle and a keynote address by Kari Lake.

Most importantly it was a success in that the grassroots of the Republican Party successfully defended against a well-funded and coordinated assault by the group calling themselves the Gem State Conservatives (GSC). GSC was founded by former chairmen Trent Clark and Tom Luna with significant funding from undisclosed sources rumored to be between $1 and $2 million. GSC hired political consultants Ashley Brittan and Tyler Hurst. The plan was to replace sufficient Precinct Committeemen with ones aligned with GSC so that they would be able to control the election of the next chairman. The plan failed spectacularly and the grassroots candidates were elected by even wider margins than two years ago at the last convention.

While the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee was responsible for hosting the overall logistics of the convention, the logistic detail fell to two sub-committees. The Convention Committee was chaired by Carla Mattare. Carla and her team handled all aspects of the arrangements from reserving meeting rooms, to providing refreshments, coordinating equipment rentals, busses, signage and managing volunteers. Many attendees commented on how events were “smooth” and “well run.”

The Gala Committee was chaired by Beverly Guenette and her team organized the Gala dinner, a Lincoln Day scale event which usually takes three months to organize, in less than two weeks. The Gala dinner features a Surf & Turf entre and our signature Desert Dash that netted over $28,000 to fight Ranked Choice Voting, which will be on the ballot in November. Event sponsors included Redman insurance, Frank Vandersloot of Melaleuca, Pastor Paul D. Van Noy of Candlelight Christian Fellowship and Representatives Elaine Price and Vito Barbieri.

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The dozens of volunteers were organized by our Volunteer Coordinator Nina Beesley. Nina made sure we had ample volunteers for everything from Wednesday’s setup to Saturday’s take down. If you volunteered to help with the convention, thank you!

All these arraignments were needed so that Republican Party business could be conducted efficiently. Committee meetings started on day one and included the Executive, Platform, Credentials, Rules and Resolutions committees.

The Executive Committee heard reports from the Region Chairmen, National Committeeman, National Commiteewoman, Secretary, Treasurer, Finance Director and our party Chairman.

The Credential Committee reviewed grievances by delegates who believed they were not fairly treated in their county’s or legislative district’s delegate elections. In one case three delegates were appointed to their positions, not voted on by their county’s precinct committeemen as required under the rules. The 51 member committee voted to strip those delegates of their credentials.

It was inaccurately reported that Bingham County’s delegates were stripped of their credentials. Of the 44 counties in Idaho, Bingham County was the only county to not pay its dues. Dues are used to fund the daily operation of the IDGOP headquarters and in return the counties receive services and access o voter databases. The penalty for not paying dues is the county does not receive a delegate allocation to the convention. If a county is unable to pay their dues they can apply to the Executive committee for a waiver, which Bingham did, but that application was denied by a near unanimous vote.

There was also a desperate last minute attempt by GSC to have the credentials stripped from a third of all the delegates. The Credentials Committee summarily dismissed that effort.

The Rules Committee reviewed 12 submitted rules amendments and ended up forwarding seven of them, some with minor amendments, to the General Assembly. Most of the rules dealt with aligning the Convention Rules with the Party Rules and streamlining the leadership election process. Instead of having seven rounds of voting, one for each office, there are now two rounds of voting. Two rounds are needed because the First Vice-Chairman and Second Vice-Chairman must be from different congressional districts.

The Platform Committee considered 17 proposals and forwarded 11 of them to the General Assembly for consideration and adoption. Included were proposals to clarify the language of several planks, to oppose the creation of a Central Bank Digital Currency, to oppose Rank Choice Voting, to define human personhood, to oppose the exploitation of children, to recognize state sovereignty, in support of same day voting using paper ballots and excuse only absentee voting, affirming the proper role of government in education, and affirming the Governor’s role with respect to the Idaho National Guard.

The Resolutions Committee considered 22 proposed resolutions. 13 resolutions were included in the report to the General Assembly and were adopted. The full list of resolutions is available on the IDGOP website.

Most of Saturday afternoon was spent electing the seven executive officers. The grassroots liberty candidates won over the GSC candidates in every race. Chairman Dorothy Moon 376 bested Mary Souza 228, First Vice-Chair Mark Fuller 382 to 223, Treasurer Steve Bender 412 to 189, Second Vice-Chair Vicky Purdy 403 to 186, National Committeewoman Kicki Keen 396 to 191, National Committeeman Bryan Smith 390 to 200, and Secretary Maria Nate 387 to 112.

The results of both the primary and the convention prove that 2022 was not a fluke or anomaly. The Idaho Republican Party, at every level has shifted towards the grassroots and away from the “establishment” candidates. We can expect that trend to continue.

It’s just common sense.

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One reply on “Conventional Wisdom”

As I posted before, Mr. Regan, the camel’s nose is still in the tent. FWIW, even though in precinct 505 your fellow traveler won, his North Idaho Republicrat challenger pulled in a substantial number of votes. And she sent out a mailer. He had no communication with the folks he is supposed to represent. When I look at the totals above, it appears you are whistling past the cemetery. Your enemies are receiving more support. Time will tell.

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