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OPINION: Shut up!

by BRENT REGAN/Common Sense
| April 19, 2024 1:00 AM

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell

‘Faith, family and freedom loving conservative Republicans need to shut up and go away.’ That is the message we are hearing from the Democrats and their allies in the Republican Party. There is a statewide effort to crush the grassroots conservative movement and the epicenter is right here in Kootenai County, being led by Sandy Patano, Jack Riggs, and other founders of the North Idaho “Republicans” or NIR. 

NIR is a self-selected group. The only requirement is that you are a friend of, and will support the founders. They have no regular meetings where the public is invited to observe. They have no published meeting times, no bylaws or procedures, no minutes, and no terms of office. NIR is top down oligarchy where a small gang of elites make all the decisions.  

NIR says they want a “big tent” Republican Party but are quick to claim that the actual elected Republicans in the Republican Party are not actual Republicans and need to be replaced with those having fealty to Sandy and Jack.

To be endorsed by NIR you need to call yourself a Republican and be approved by Sandy and Jack. That’s it. No vote of the membership…nothing. They refused to even interview candidates running against their chosen few. They circulate Recommended Candidate flyers that are near copies of the official Republican Party flyers but instead list candidates also endorsed by Democrats. They deliberately try to fool the voters. 

Meanwhile your official Republican Party, known as the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, KCRCC for short, has the mission to enhance freedom and prosperity by promoting fiscally and socially conservative candidates who will implement the Idaho Republican Party Platform as policy. It is the mission the voters want.

Kootenai County is divided into 73 precincts. Idaho law requires that every two years each precinct elects a Precinct Committeeman (PC). PCs must be qualified electors who are affiliated with the Republican Party and have resided in their precinct for at least six months. Between eight and 10 days after the primary all 73 PCs get together and elect a chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, treasurer, and other officers to serve at the will of the committee. In the KCRCC, the PCs are the highest authority. 

The KCRCC holds regular monthly meetings where the public is invited to attend. We operate under Robert’s Rules of Order parliamentary procedure, our Bylaws, Idaho Republican Party Rules, and Idaho State law. All actions by the committee are the result of a majority vote of the committee. The chairman runs the meeting and maintains decorum but typically does not vote except to break a tie. The meeting agenda items are set at the request of the PCs.   

Any registered voter can affiliate with the Republican Party. There is no test or standard or qualification that must be met. Just check a box and you are a Republican. 

If you want to run for office AS a Republican, you can do that too. There is no requirement that you believe Republican principles should guide policy decisions. As a result there are many elected Republicans who govern like they were Democrats. Twelve years ago the legislator with the most liberal voting record was a Republican who told her constituents she was a conservative…and they believed her.  

Voters were upset at the Republican Party because even though Republicans were in the majority, they were governing like Democrats. Voters wanted accountability. Voters wanted truth in advertising. Voters wanted the Republican Brand to mean the candidate was an actual Republican who believed in Republican principles. 

The PCs of the KCRCC discussed, voted and decided we would develop a rating system to evaluate candidates against the Republican Platform and make recommendations to better inform the voters. We have the candidates fill out a questionnaire. We have them meet with a vetting sub-committee and we host events so all the PCs can meet and talk directly with the candidates. Finally all the PCs get together to debate and vote by secret ballot on who we will recommend to the voters. 

The voters were delighted to receive these recommendations and they appreciated the effort. Voters want to know which candidates are true Republicans and which only “identify” as Republican. Voters can then make a better informed decision. 

NIR, the local paper, Democrats and the candidates that only “identify” as Republican who don’t get recommended HATE the KCRCC Rating System because it exposes the truth. They claim the process is somehow corrupt, that the KCRCC is interfering with voter’s rights, and that the process bullies candidates. They argue, in essence, that the members of the KCRCC have no right to express their opinion. That they have no right to free speech. That they need to shut up.

None of that is true. How do we know? Because they have NO problem with any of the other groups that offer candidate endorsements. Groups like NIR that have no process and their list of endorsements is curiously identical to the Democrat’s list. 

Those that seek to deceive hate the truth. They want those who speak the truth to shut up and go away. The only way to shut down the KCRCC is to win 37 Precinct Committeeman seats and then vote to stop rating candidates. Vote to stop informing voters. Vote to turn Idaho blue, like they did to Colorado.

They will be successful…unless YOU VOTE on May 21 to stop them.

It’s just common sense.

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Brent Regan is chairman of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee.