Conservatives Pile up the W's at Republican Party Summer Meeting
The Idaho Republican Party State Central Committee meeting on June 23-24 in Challis was a resounding success. It showcased the strength and unity of conservative Republicans. It was well-executed. Most impressive was the substance, which demonstrated commitment to advancing conservative principles. Conservatives faced down opposition from the establishment figures that attended, who were left standing in the back of the room scowling and muttering to themselves. The conservative faction prevailed.
The first order of business was to fix a problem caused by Secretary of State Phil McGrane. McGrane pushed the legislature to pass a bill to move the March presidential primary to May 2024, but instead removed the primary completely. The Idaho Republican Party had to make a party-based change so Idaho Republicans could participate in the selection of a presidential candidate. They adopted a rule change for the 2024 presidential election, replacing the presidential primary with a presidential caucus. By implementing a caucus, Idaho Republicans will directly engage the grassroots base in the selection of their presidential nominee.
The state committee members also passed critical rules to safeguard the integrity of the Republican Party and its conservative values. Rule 2023-8 passed, allowing state, county and district committees to ensure the integrity of elected officials who campaigned as Republicans and censure those who violate the party platform.
The state party also adopted a rule to prevent county parties from engaging in proxy harvesting during county central committee meetings. This measure ensures that decisions made at the local level truly reflect the will of Republicans, empowering individual committee members and preventing any undue influence.
The State Central Committee addressed a contentious rule change that had been tabled from the winter meeting. The issue concerned unelected members sitting as voting members on the State Executive Committee. The unelected members included several private club presidents, Idaho Young Republicans, Idaho Federation of Republican Women, and College Republicans, as well as the appointed Finance Chair. None of these groups were elected by Republican voters. The rule passed, and they will all remain as non-voting members of the state executive committee. This decision, much to the dismay of establishment figures such as Tracey Wasden, IFRW President and wife of former AG Lawrence Wasden, brings transparency and accountability, guaranteeing that decisions at the executive level are made by members elected by the people, not members of a private club who pay to join.
Several resolutions were also passed during the summer meeting, highlighting the attendees' commitment to core conservative values. One such resolution condemned the FBI, reflecting concerns over potential abuses of power and the erosion of individual liberties. Additionally, another resolution called for a vote of no confidence for Governor Little and legislators who voted against the override of Governor Little’s veto of House Bill 314, which would have required public libraries and schools restrict children’s access to obscene or pornographic material. The bold stance of voting “no confidence” for our governor and certain legislators, emphasizes the Republican commitment to holding our elected officials accountable and demanding adherence to conservative principles.
Notably, the meeting also witnessed the resignation of Damond Watkins, Idaho’s National Committeeman to the RNC. On the agenda for Saturday’s general session was the report from an investigative committee that was tasked to investigate Watkin’s residency. It was alleged that Watkins had moved to North Carolina, yet he maintained that his residence was within the state of Idaho. The report was tabled indefinitely following his resignation. The Idaho GOP said in a press statement that they will be announcing a special meeting of the State Central Committee to fill the vacancy.
The success of the Idaho GOP State Central Committee Summer meeting serves as a testament to the power and determination of conservative Republicans. The state party staff, volunteers and attendees demonstrated their ability to effectively organize, execute, and achieve results in record time. By passing critical rules, resolutions, and confronting challenges head-on, they showcased their commitment to conservative values, the integrity of the party, and the empowerment of grassroots Republicans.
Unfortunately, it appears that the local media in Idaho suffers from amnesia, as they have overlooked the fact that Tom Luna is no longer the party chair and have been quoting him badmouthing the summer meeting in the press this week. Despite Luna’s significant loss to new Chair Dorothy Moon in July of 2022, media outlets would rather grant him interviews and solicit his commentary on the Idaho Republican Party rather than ask Chairman Moon about hers.
Regardless of Tom Luna’s sour grapes, the majority of those in attendance felt the summer meeting reflected the party moving in the right direction. This meeting will serve as a launching pad for even greater successes in advancing the conservative agenda of the Republican Party and shaping the future of our state.