Wednesday, June 19, 2024

EDITORIAL: A united Idaho GOP? We'll see

| June 9, 2024 1:00 AM

Give peace a chance.

The Beatles’ John Lennon is credited for saying that, and the profound statement might also have reverberated throughout the crowded gathering of Kootenai County Republican Central Committee members recently.

From virtually all quarters, including KCRCC incumbents and the North Idaho Republicans who worked feverishly to unseat them, the official 6-hour meeting was more a love fest than a fist fight. 

“Hey, maybe we can work together after all” was a common conclusion, at least for those willing to go on the record. “A civil war does the party and the community no good” was another. And face to face, anyway, no newcomer was called a Democrat and no incumbent was declared a right-wing lunatic.

When the Grand Old Party’s local business party was over, the elected leadership for the next two years still reflected the old guard, which it probably should. Even though North Idaho Republicans took an impressive 30 of 73 seats in the May primary election, they still fell short of their goal of capturing a majority. 

If you don’t get a different mirror, the new boss is bound to look like the old boss. 

Meanwhile, local Democrats — the real ones — had the only candidates who came through the primary election unscathed. You can’t blame them if they’re cheering for both Republican factions to knock each other out.

A united GOP in Kootenai County, where 64% of registered voters identify as Republicans, is really bad news for Democrats, who make up 10% of registered Kootenai County voters. GOP in-fighting can only help the Democrats, and they know they need all the help they can get.

Now that the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee’s leadership has been sorted, the next order of business is a big one. June 13-15 at The Coeur d’Alene Resort, the Idaho GOP will hold its summer convention. 

While Kootenai County’s Republican assembly felt more like a wedding celebration than a divorce proceeding, even after a close election for chairman, the statewide summit could rock the love boat. 

Chairman Dorothy Moon, a champion to many KCRCC incumbents and others, will be challenged by former state Sen. Mary Souza of Coeur d'Alene. Souza won't be alone in seeing Moon's reign as a party-splitting, community-dividing letdown. 

However, if Kootenai County’s meeting serves as an example showing how hard it is to budge entrenched party officials out of the way, Moon’s got little to worry about. Citizens might see that the wedding of two disparate party factions includes a shotgun.