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KCRCC maintains majority of precinct posts

by BILL BULEYKAYE THORNBRUGH
Staff Writer | May 21, 2024 11:55 PM

COEUR d’ALENE — After a contentious race for 73 seats on the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, the incumbent committeemen held onto their majority.

Brent Regan, the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee’s chairman, said he was pleased with results of Tuesday’s primary election. Many of the central committee's recommended candidates won their races.

“It was a hard fought battle, that's for sure,” Regan said late Tuesday.

Regan easily won his contest for precinct 205 committeeman with 331 votes, 58.6%, over David Patzer with 233 votes, 41.3%. One of its candidates, Marc Stewart, edged out Barbara Hedden by just six votes, 191 to 185.

A slate of challengers backed by the group North Idaho Republicans won 30 spots on the central committee. They needed 36 seats to secure a majority.

At the Coeur d’Alene Public Golf Course, candidates backed by North Idaho Republicans and their supporters gathered to watch the results roll in.

“The best thing we did was we offered the community a choice,” said Sandy Patano, founding member of North Idaho Republicans. “Hopefully it’s the start of a movement.”

Jack Riggs, former Idaho lieutenant governor and founding member of North Idaho Republicans, said he believes the results were positive overall. He noted that many of the precinct committeemen races were narrow, with candidates winning or losing by a handful of votes.

“I think the central committee, going forward, will be different from the one we’ve seen in the past,” he said. “I think it’s good for our system to let voters have choices and for candidates to make their cases honestly to voters.”

North Idaho Republicans candidates who won included Jim Hammond, John Young, Britt Thurman and Darin Hayes.

Regan said there were surprises and disappointments, He said some KCRCC precinct leaders with many years of experience lost their races by narrow margins.

“They were good, solid Republicans,” he said. “We’ll see how their replacements do.”

He said it will be interesting moving forward to see how things unfold. The Republican state convention is scheduled to begin June 13 in Coeur d’Alene, so new precinct committeemen will have to get up to speed quickly on what’s involved.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Regan said.