COMMENTARY: New Moon rising
| July 22, 2022 1:00 AM
The Idaho Republican Party’s (IDGOP) biennial convention, held in Twin Falls, wrapped up last Saturday under new leadership with the election of Dorothy Moon (chair), Daniel Silver (1st Vice-Chairman), Mark Fuller (2nd Vice-Chairman), Maria Nate (Secretary), Steve Bender (Treasurer).
There were many factors leading to this wholesale replacement, but chief among them was the unilateral action by Chairman Luna to sue Bonneville County days before the May primary. His stated reason was to protect the state party from federal election fines. Most delegates believed it was because of the feud between Melaleuca’s Frank Vandersloot and then congressional candidate Bryan Smith, who is from Bonneville. Vandersloot donated $10,000 to the IDGOP and flew two Washington, D.C., lawyers to Idaho to prosecute the case against the Bonneville leadership, who were named personally (including Smith).
Many other county delegations we concerned by this action as it directly countered Luna’s stated goal of party unity. There were many T-shirts, buttons and stickers with sayings like “Tom Luna Sued Me” and “Are We Next?” and “Don’t Sue Me Bro.”
The IDGOP convention is held every two years and is attended by delegates that have been nominated and elected by county and legislative district central committees. This year Kootenai County sent 65 delegates and our county’s four legislative districts sent three each for a total of 77 delegates out of about 760 total.
The major business of the convention is to elect new leadership, to amend the party’s platform, to amend the rules of the convention, and to consider and pass any resolutions. Proposed state party rules may be considered and if passed are submitted to the Rules Committee at the next state party meeting, usually the following winter.
For the convention, ANY delegate may submit ANY proposed change to the platform or rules and offer a resolution for consideration. Each proposal must first be considered by the appropriate standing committee and then, if they receive a majority vote in the subcommittee, are referred to the general assembly.
Because ANY delegate can make a proposal, occasionally we get some goofy ideas that the media then reports as “IDGOP considering (insert goofy proposal here)." Proposals that are not in line with the majority view of the party typically do not survive the subcommittee and even if they do they won’t survive the General Assembly.
Know that a proposed rule, resolution or platform change is not the position of the IDGOP until it is approved by the general assembly.
The media covering the event were once again successful in getting many facts wrong. The Willful Ignorance award goes to the Capitol Hill Sun with their claim that the IDGOP is against an abortion to save a person’s life. For years the IDGOP platform has stated “We support the criminalization of all murders by abortion.” A proposed amendment would have changed it to “murders by ‘elective’ abortion.” That change was unnecessary and was rejected.
Imagine if the platform said “We support the criminalization of all murders by automobile.” Does that mean we believe driving should be criminalized? No, we believe that murder should be a crime. Is the termination of a pregnancy to save the life of a mother murder? Of course not. Only a malicious reporter would make that claim.
There were pro-abortion protestors outside the venue on Friday and one threw water on a delegate only to claim she was the one that was assaulted. Police were called but multiple videos showed the truth.
One of the most disappointing events occurred Saturday midafternoon. The Twin Falls Central Committee hosted the event and was unanimously in support of now former Chairman Luna. After the election results were announced, the Twin Falls delegation had a collective tantrum. Their delegation’s chairman issued a quorum call and then the entire delegation up and left in an attempt to crash the convention. Fortunately they failed and we were successfully able to complete our business.
Remember that the Twin Falls delegates slept in their own beds each night while delegates from Bonner and Boundary had driven nearly 10 hours to be there. I believe the Twin Falls delegates will come to regret this immature act.
This was my fifth IDGOP convention, and it was by far the most enthusiastic and energized in addition to being the best attended. Based on this, I expect the Republicans to have a very strong showing this November.
It’s just common sense.
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Brent Regan is chairman of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee.