Letters From the West

GOP rules committee rejects limits to primary candidates

Republican Rep. Raul Labrador talks to Vicki Purdy, a member of the Idaho Republican Central Committee rules commitee in MCall.

Republican Rep. Raul Labrador talks to Vicki Purdy, a member of the Idaho Republican Central Committee rules commitee in MCall.

MCCALL – A rule that would require candidates to get approval from their local Republican leadership to get on the ballot died Saturday in committee.

The rules committee of the Republican Central Committee rejected the motion brought by Rod Beck, the Region 4 GOP chairman from Boise on a voice vote.

Beck said the issue is the natural next step for the party to exercise its voice in its own election process after successfully closing the primary to Republican voters.

“We have a right to assert ourselves on private Republican matters,” Beck told the committee.

The vote followed the approval of a state health exchange even though the Republican Central Committee passed a resolution against it. Vickie Purdy of New Meadows said the rule would give Republicans a balanced field against lobbyists in Boise.

“I don’t have the the money to go against Blue Cross and Blue Shield,” said Purdy.

But Clinton Daniel from Region 2 in north central Idaho, said giving party leaders control of access to the ballot could hurt it.

“The potential for blowback and losing elections is great,” Daniel said.

Mike Duff, who ran Helen’s Chenoweth’s campaign for Congress in 1994, said had the party leaders then been in control of who ran, Chenoweth would not have made it. The same was true in 1980 when Steve Symms was nominated for U.S. Senate and went on to defeat Democratic Sen. Frank Church.

“The folks running the central committee at the time would not have endorsed him,” Duff said.

The panel approved additions to its rule that requires candidates to read and endorse or reject the Republican Party platform. The panel’s change requires the state chairman to send out a press release when a candidate refuses to submit a disclosure on the platform and that the party won’t endorse them.

Another rule passed that requires the state committee to hold a vote whether to support a candidate after they voted against the state platform.



Rocky Barker is the energy and environment reporter for the Idaho Statesman and has been writing about the West since 1985. He is the author of Scorched Earth How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America and co-producer of the movie Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone, which was inspired by the book and broadcast on A&E Network. He also co-authored the Flyfisher's Guide to Idaho and the Wingshooter's Guide to Idaho with Ken Retallic. He also was on the Statesman’s team that covered the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news in 2007. The National Wildlife Federation awarded him its Conservation Achievement Award.

Posted in Letters from the West