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MY TURN: Killing the Idaho Republican Party

by MARY SOUZA/Guest Opinion
| May 11, 2024 1:00 AM

Question: How do you kill the Republican Party in one of the most conservative states? 

Answer: Allow the Libertarians and Anarchists to take charge and change the rules. 

Here’s how it happened: 

It was a clever system that took patient, quiet planning, and most folks had no clue what was in process. The schemers started at the local level, filling their county’s Republican central committees with precinct committeemen (PCs) who had little-to-no community service nor knowledge of government procedures, but were obedient to their leadership. These PCs then selected the delegates for the Idaho Republican state convention, where those same delegates voted for state party leadership.

That’s how our current band of Idaho Republican Party (IDGOP) officials came into office two years ago. They proceeded to clean house, so to speak, and have been “remodeling” the party platform, rules, resolutions and procedures to enable their increasing power and control over the Idaho Republican Party and the Idaho government.

So who are these state party leaders and their significant influencers?  

• Dorothy Moon is the chair of the party. She is a former member of the Idaho House. Dorothy is married to Darr Moon, who sits on the 22-person National Council of the John Birch Society (JBS). 

• Dorothy and Darr are also closely aligned with the Libertarian Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF), and its board members Bryan Smith, Doyle Beck and its chairman, Brent Regan.

• Brent Regan wears three crowns. He is chair of both the IFF and the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee (KCRCC), but also importantly, Brent is chair of the IDGOP Rules Committee. These are three highly strategic power positions in the takeover of the Idaho Republican Party. 

• The Idaho Freedom Foundation, with Brent Regan as chair, is the central power piece in the takeover. This Libertarian organization controls many of our legislators with their highly biased scoring of bills and grading of legislators. These “grades” are then used to reward or punish legislators during election cycles. It works. The obedient legislators vote the way IFF tells them. Dorothy Moon, former legislator, was always near the very top of IFF’s honor roll list. Now she is chair of the Idaho State GOP.

• And to add even more drama to this Republican takeover, one of  IFF’s main analysts for bills, Parrish Miller, had this statement on his website: “I am an anarchist. My goal is not the reformation of the state, but its complete and total eradication.” He is scoring the bills!

These are NOT Republicans!

So what has the current party leadership done with their new power? Here are just a few of the problems they have created:

1. The Presidential Primary caucus was a complete failure, with less than 10% voter turnout statewide. IDGOP’s Dorothy Moon pushed for this caucus system rather than regular voting at the polls, and, as party chair, she is responsible for the poor showing.

2. The new rules also allow central committees to endorse only select Republican candidates in the primary election and even donate to their campaigns. The previously time-honored tradition was that central committees stay hands-off and treat all candidates equally in the primary, then get behind the winner in the general election. “Let the primary voters decide.”

3. But the IDGOP did not get behind the winners after the 2022 primary. They did not support our governor, lieutenant governor or other executive officers during the general election because these were not candidates preferred by the IDGOP leadership. So much for integrity and tradition. 

4. The IDGOP attacks other Republican groups, has imposed fines on Republican committees and has demanded resignations from longtime Republican volunteers. They are dividing our party into factions, then inciting fights between the groups.

Yes, this whole scenario sounds crazy. People ask, “Why would a group of JBS/Libertarian/Anarchist people want to take over our Republican party?” Because the Republican Party in Idaho represents at least 60% of registered voters. 

Idaho already has a Libertarian Party as well as a Constitution Party. These JBS/Libertarian/Anarchists could have built up their own party and promoted their own candidates. That would be the honest action, but it would take work and money, so they just hijacked the Republican Party and called anyone who complained a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only), when, in fact, that is exactly what they are.

So what can we do to take back our Idaho Republican Party? We need to start at the local level, just like the takeover did. Please go to IdahoVotes.gov to find your precinct number and the name of your PC and their challenger(s). Vote for the person who shares your values. 

The May 21 Republican Primary is coming up fast, and we need to elect good precinct committeemen who will represent the Republicans in our neighborhoods, not the power brokers from the JBS, Libertarian, Anarchists or any other outside group.

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Mary Souza served in the Idaho Senate for eight years, retiring in 2022. If you are concerned about outside influences controlling your legislators, please share this column with friends.