Conservative trio want your vote
Staff Writer | May 7, 2020 1:13 AM
With the May 19 primary election fast approaching, The Coeur d’Alene Press will periodically profile candidates in competitive races. Today, we profile three candidates running for the Republican ticket for District 3’s open Senate seat.
Peter Riggs is making a push for the Republican primary bid this May for the Idaho State Senate’s District 3 seat.
The longtime Pita Pit franchise owner, MBA grad from the University of Idaho and board member for the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Association said his business acumen will produce results in the midst of the economic calamity the coronavirus is leaving behind.
“When the financial crash of 2008 occurred, followed by several years of deep recession, I was vice president of Pita Pit USA,” he said. “With well over 100 franchisees operating across the country at that time, [the corporate office] was responsible to work with every single franchisee to analyze their situation and help develop a plan for recovery. The obstacles were many and people’s livelihoods were on the line. I really learned how to listen to each individual’s situation and work with them to develop a pathway forward in the midst of their difficult circumstances.”
Riggs, the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee member who previously ran for the district’s House seat in 2016 but lost in the primary to Don Cheatham, said the COVID-19 crisis spotlights the need for Idahoans to stand up in support of constitutional rights. The son of former lieutenant governor Jack Riggs is headlining his campaign by promising to expand freedoms, protect life and the Second Amendment, and push for solutions to local issues such as growth, education and property taxes.
“I am running for the Idaho State Senate for District 3 in the Republican primary because the experience I can bring to the table is needed in our Statehouse today,” he wrote on his website. “I am conservative, a good listener, a proven problem solver, engaged in the community, and I grew up in North Idaho. My only agenda is to serve and effectively represent the hard-working citizens of District 3 as a thoughtful, dedicated and conservative representative in the Idaho legislature.”
Marc Eberlein is taking another swing for office, running in the May 19 Republican primary for Idaho District 3’s Senate race. The former Kootenai County commissioner is running on a platform of a smaller, less invasive government — an obstacle, he says, standing in the way of a robust economy.
“The surest way to stop a thriving economy is more bureaucracy and higher taxes,” he said. “Property taxes are out of hand, the grocery tax needs to be eliminated, and the growth of government needs to be checked.”
The longtime logging executive and cabinet maker was originally elected commissioner in 2014, where he often spoke of easing government restrictions, including shoreline regulations and building code requirements. The latter became a key debate issue between Eberlein and Bill Brooks, who beat the incumbent in the 2018 primary for the commissioner seat.
If elected to the Senate, Eberlein said his top priorities would be to lower the burden of property taxpayers, address the cost of growth and push to ensure urban renewal district board members are elected positions.
He said he’d further urge legislation to promote health care freedom, religious and philosophical vaccine exemptions, education choices and a pro-life agenda.
Eberlein’s pro-life stance took on a new spotlight April 11 when he posted a video on YouTube and through his campaign website, www.marc4idaho.com, in which he detailed the history of anti-abortion laws, proclaiming that “life is life.” The Idaho Senate voted to criminalize the act of performing an abortion in all cases except for rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
The bill, approved by the Senate 27-7, would apply punishment to the performing doctor, rather than the patient. The bill, which takes effect only if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, was signed into law by Gov. Brad Little.
The governor and the Senate hopeful don’t always see eye to eye. Eberlein spoke up at an April 26 demonstration in Coeur d’Alene, in which he criticized the stay-home order handed down by Little in response to COVID-19, telling the attendees Idahoans tolerated an unconstitutional mandate issued in the heart of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The real virus is in our government,” he said, ”and that’s what’s destroying our nation.”
Alex Barron, a popular voice among those in the American Redoubt movement, is hoping to now lend his voice to the Idaho State Senate, running in the May 19 primary for the Senate’s District 3 seat.
Barron, secretary of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee for the past four years and the district’s vice chairman for the last two, hosts the Charles Carroll Society website, where he labels himself “the Bard of the American Redoubt.”
The American Redoubt is essentially a political migration movement that harkens for conservatives and libertarians to re-home in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, as well as in the eastern portions of Washington and Idaho. The idea was formed around the teachings of a survivalist who wished to distance himself from government overreach, believing such a movement would sustain itself in the event of a systemic or economic collapse.
Barron, a devout Catholic who has often invoked his faith as the foundation of his political views, has spoken often in his podcast and on his website, charlescarrollsociety.com, about the need for political migration from areas hostile to conservative, libertarian and Christian culture.
The United States Navy and Operation: Desert Storm veteran said he hopes, if elected, to expand freedoms and economic opportunities for Idahoans.
“I believe I can help Idaho become a more free and prosperous state,” he said. “I also believe I can help Idaho be better prepared for the next crisis.”
The longtime advocate said he has advanced local Republican principles for years. For example, like his opponents in the District 3 race, Barron is pro-Second Amendment, a position he celebrated when he spoke at a rally in McEuen Park amid roughly 250 like-minded attendees.
“You are the people,” he told the crowd at the January rally that gathered to show solidarity against anti-gun legislation in Virginia. “There’s a lot of people who live around here, but there is a very small percentage of people who are active participants … We’ve got a lot of people here in this audience who are active in your politics.”