Election Central

No criticism from Chairman Peterson for Fulcher luring Dems into GOP primary

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.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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Posted in Election Central, Idaho Politics