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OPINION: Republican Party and crazy critics

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

Republicans from all over the state gathered earlier this month in Boise for the IDGOP Winter meeting. Every six months the 218 members of the Idaho Republican State Central Committee gather to take care of party business. This Winter Meeting was a total success. Not only was all business accomplished, but it was done in record time.

The Idaho Republican Party is a bottom-up, grassroots organization. At the base are the Precinct Committeemen. Every two years during the May primary the Republican voters in each of Idaho’s 976 precincts elect their precinct committeeman. These Precinct Committeemen are organized into County Central Committees for each of Idaho’s 44 counties and into Legislative District Committees for each of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts. 

Each of these county and legislative district committees elects a Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary. County Central Committees also elect a State Committeeman, State Committeewoman and Youth Committeeperson. 

Idaho is also organized into seven (ten after May 2024) regions. The county and legislative district chairmen and the State Committeemen, State Committeewomen and Youth Committeepersons in each region elect a Region Chairman, Region Vice Chairman and Region Secretary. 

All this organizing and electing is done within two weeks of the May primary and is followed by the Idaho Republican Party State Convention, which this year will be in Coeur d’Alene starting on June 13th. The approximately 700 delegates to the convention are elected by the County Central Committees. Any affiliated Republican can be nominated to be a delegate.  

At the Convention the delegates vote on any amendments to the State Party Platform and elect the State Party Chairman, First and Second Vice-Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. Every four years we also elect a National Committeeman and National Committeewoman who represent Idaho at the Republican National Committee. These seven officers along with the Region Chairman form the State Executive Committee. 

The 218 members of the State Central Committee have the final word on adoption of new or amended rules and resolutions. They are the ultimate authority for party business. 

An example of this is when someone is aggrieved by some violation of party rules they can file a complaint with the Chairman who will render a decision within 60 days. If someone is aggrieved by the chairman’s decision they can appeal to the State Executive Committee. Finally, if someone is aggrieved by the Executive Committee decision they can appeal to the State Central Committee, the ultimate judicial authority.

The rules of the Republican Party have been improved and refined over time, usually in response to a situation or new requirement. ANY of the 976 precinct committeeman can propose a rule change, but that proposal must be passed by a majority vote by at least one county or legislative district committee. Depending on the size of the county, these committees can have as few as three members or over two hundred.

Once the proposed rule has been approved by at least one committee it can be submitted for consideration at the next State Central Committee meeting, like the one that just happened on Jan. 5 and 6. 

To be considered by the State Central Committee the proposed rule must first be reviewed and passed by the Rules Committee. The Rules Committee members are appointed by the Region Chairmen and the State Chairman appoints the Rules Committee Chairman and Vice-chairman. The Rules Chairman runs the meeting but does not debate or vote unless there is a tie vote. 

The Rules Committee reviews the proposed rules, debates it merits, amends the proposed rule if needed, and then finally votes on if the proposed rule will be part of the Rules Committee Report to the State Central Committee. 

During this Winter Meeting the Rules Committee met for four hours and considered 17 proposed rules. Of those 17, only six received enough votes to be included in the report to the State Central Committee and four of those were amended by the committee. 

Clear minded people see that the Republican Party is structured so that the Chairman does not have dictatorial power and that our processes are open at the beginning to allow any idea to start the process while at the same time there are three layers of committees that the proposal must pass through before finally becoming a new rule or resolution. Claims that the Chairman can push through rules are patently absurd, but being absurd or outright crazy comes naturally to some critics. 

Unfortunately the media pretends that all proposals come from the top and then they howl about how horrible the Republicans are for even considering a proposed rule. 

A news outlet in Boise ran a several minute piece about a proposed rule that would have prevented a politician from using the Republican brand for five years if they repeatedly voted against fundamental Republican principles as enumerated in the Platform. They claimed our chairman was actively trying to control who could run for office and restrict voter rights. This is crazy talk. 

If that rule had passed it would only have prevented the politician from using the Republican brand. That’s it. They could still have run for office and people could still vote for them. But that rule did not pass out of the Rules Committee. What did pass was a rule establishing an appellate process for politicians who are accused of violating platform principles. This rule reinforces and broadened due process and fair treatment. Apology? Nope.

Critics of the Republican Party seem determined to be critical, even if they have to misrepresent or even fabricate facts. It is best to ignore these crazy claims and judge the Republican Party for what it does, not what the agenda driven media claims it wants to do. 

It’s just common sense.

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