GOP supporters hold separate Lincoln Day functions

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COEUR d'ALENE - The split in the local Republican Party was clearly evident Saturday, as supporters from the different factions held separate Lincoln Day functions before coming together for their annual dinner.

The North Idaho Political Action Committee, or NIPAC, hosted a lunchtime candidate meet-and-greet at the Hagadone Event Center at The Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course.

Governor Butch Otter attended the event as did many of his supporters. The event attracted 250 republicans and dozens of candidates who are running in the May 20 primary elections this year.

Many of the candidates in attendance are running for seats on the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, or the KCRCC. Most of those who spoke mentioned their desire to see the party get back on track.

Several mentioned their concern with how the leadership of the current central committee is dealing with the party's finances.

Absent from the $45-a-plate NIPAC event was the leadership of the KCRCC. They scheduled an overlapping free meet-and-greet event at the American Legion building in Post falls.

Otter's challenger Russ Fulcher attended that event with many of his supporters. The KCRCC event drew roughly 100 people, according to John Malloy, who attended the event but is ironically running for a seat on the Democrats' local central committee.

Later in the evening, however, both groups turned out for the KCRCC's annual Lincoln Day Dinner at The Coeur d'Alene Resort. According to KCRCC Chairman Neil Oliver the party sold between 350 and 400 tickets to the event.

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