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State rights, unity themes at Republican convention

by Brian Walker
| June 24, 2010 9:00 PM

Flexing the state's rights amid concerns over federal proposals, unity after a hard-fought primary and the chairman's election are highlights of the Idaho Republican Party's annual convention in Idaho Falls on Friday and Saturday.

John Cross, the party's North Idaho chairman, said more than 100 people from the five northern counties are expected to attend. About 40 resolutions, more than in recent years, will be considered.

"There's a lot of interest about expressing state rights," Cross said. "A lot of people are concerned about the Obama medical plan, cap and trade and issues he wants to complete. A lot of the resolutions are aimed at asking the state to stand up for its rights on these issues and consider whether the Constitution is being violated."

After a tight, controversial race for the GOP nomination for Idaho's 1st District congressional seat in the May primary, Cross said it's important that Republicans grasp unity with winner Raul Labrador before November because Democrat incumbent Walt Minnick poses a challenge.

"We recognize that he's a strong candidate," Cross said. "A lot of business organizations are not that unhappy with him being in office. We need to make sure we have a strong grassroots effort to unseat him by bringing as many people on board as we can."

Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko, who grew up in Rathdrum and lives in the Boise area, is ending his two-year term, but is expected to be re-elected at the convention, Cross said.

"I'm unaware of anyone else being interested or who will be nominated," Cross said, adding that the party as a whole has been pleased with Semanko's leadership.

Other offices, including both vice chairman seats, secretary and treasurer, are also up for election.

The convention will also have classes on how to run for office, fundraisers and motivational speeches.

"We want to establish and clarify Republican values," Cross said. "We have a number of races, including for governor, so a lot of people are focused on the Republican ticket in general and not just a particular race."

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