Idaho Republican Party Chairman Barry Peterson is unperturbed that Sen. Russ Fulcher is openly courting Democrats, Libertarians and Constitution Party members to change parties and vote for him over two-term Gov. Butch Otter.
Though Peterson was among those who fought to close the GOP primary to non-Republicans, he said Friday that he has no criticism of Fulcher’s tactic. Republicans won a 2011 federal court case that allowed them to limit their primary to those who sign a form saying they are members of the party.
“The purpose of the rule is to give the power to the party to choose its own candidates for the November ballot,” Peterson told the Statesman. “But I recognize at the same time when rules are made people maneuver within the rules to accommodate their own interests. It’s human nature.”
Fulcher, of Meridian, is the Senate majority caucus chairman. He faces Otter in the May 20 primary and is urging members of the state’s other three parties to re-register before the March 14 deadline and vote GOP.
“I am definitely reaching out,” Fulcher told the Statesman on Thursday. “I truly believe under our current leadership that a lot of people have been driven away from our party. If I’m going to be successful I’ve got to be able to pull them in, or at least some of them, and unite that effort.
“I’m not specifically trying to target any one sector, but because our party has been so fractured, so many people have been driven away, absolutely, I’m reaching out and trying to get them back in the fold for this primary election,” Fulcher said.