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PRESS ENDORSEMENTS: Support these GOP Big Tent candidates

| May 6, 2022 1:00 AM

Republican voters have some important decisions to make in the May 17 primary election. Some of it comes down to political philosophy. In the view of this newspaper’s editorial board, there’s a line between healthy conservatism based on reason and respect, rather than radical conservatism, which feeds on fear, anger and misinformation.

That’s why Press endorsements are consistently bestowed on candidates with either a tangible track record of public service — evidence of decisions and constituent interaction rather than empty words and unfulfilled promises — or those whose fledgling campaigns are built in the Big Tent of Republican centrism.

Members of the Idaho Legislature are charged with representing all of their constituents, not just those who supported them — and who likely expect favors returned.

After reviewing candidate profiles, answers to hard questions posed in the Press Voters Guide and in interviews and town hall forums with Publisher Clint Schroeder, we have concluded that there are no bad eggs in the legislative baskets mentioned in this editorial. Those who did not win our endorsement still stayed well above the dank basement inhabited by ethically and/or practically challenged statewide candidates Janice McGeachin, Priscilla Giddings, Dorothy Moon and Branden Durst.

DISTRICT 3, State Rep. Position B

Candidate Jordan Redman is uncomfortably close to the radical Kootenai County Republican Central Committee and some of his stances on important issues are concerning. However, the positives include deep and respected roots in the community, as well as an intelligent approach for a rookie legislator: Redman intends to immerse himself in the bills being presented and essentially dedicate himself to on-the-job training. We think he’ll be one who listens well and respectfully — two qualities that are sorely lacking in some camps.

DISTRICT 4, State Senator

Most years we could easily support the candidacy of Ben Toews, an impressive and successful young man. But this year voters have a better choice: Tara Malek.

Malek is a former prosecutor and an owner of a highly successful law firm headquartered in Coeur d’Alene. She describes herself as “a strong Republican who is a pro-law enforcement, pro-education, pro-constitution candidate.” What might impress us most is that her platform is laser focused on the issues that matter to the majority of Idahoans, not the social hot button stuff based largely on falsehoods that foment division.

Malek might be a newcomer to political office, but she’s a bright star on the state’s horizon who will lead effectively.

DISTRICT 4, House Position A

Jim Addis has served District 4 with distinction as he now seeks his third term. His roots also run deep in Kootenai County, as the Addis name is synonymous with extensive community involvement and support. Jim is a chip off the Tom Addis block, and that’s an easily understood compliment to the many thousands of people who know the Addis family.

DISTRICT 4, House Position B

There isn’t an easier candidate to endorse in this primary election than Rep. Paul Amador, who’s seeking his fourth term. Amador is one of the brightest, hardest working legislators whose Big 3 issues include education, economic prosperity and fair taxation. He is beholden only to District 4 residents — and that’s the way it should be. Amador is only 40, and the sky’s the limit if this outstanding public servant ever decides to aim for a higher office.

DISTRICT 5, Senator

The son of former Lt. Gov. Jack Riggs is an accomplished businessman and, in his first term in the Idaho Senate, confirmed his credentials as a rational conservative. Peter Riggs checks the boxes for right to life and the Second Amendment, but he doesn’t rest on those laurels. Riggs has the intellect and interest to help solve our region’s agonizing growth problems while ensuring health care, education and property taxes are all front and center in legislative decision-making.

DISTRICT 5, House Position A

Rep. Ron Mendive shows up to work and has earned a reputation as being responsive. Frankly, he’s also extremely likable, and voters could do worse than continue to support him.

In our view, though, Ron drifts close to the extremism abyss too often. We think Dr. Cheri Zao offers a refreshing alternative, a shift more toward the center. Her intellect combined with a burning desire to tackle the state’s housing crisis resonates, as there is no more daunting challenge confronting Idaho.