“To govern effectively and wisely, our calculus for public policy must take into account not only the most fervently ideological among us, but also those with whom we earnestly disagree,” he writes.
Republicans also received a letter signed by dozens of Republican elected officials, including Otter, Lt. Gov. Brad Little, Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill and House Speaker Scott Bedke, encouraging them to reject the rule.
“Idaho’s Republican Party should be open to all Republicans, not just those with the keys to the “smoke-filled room.” All registered Republicans should have a voice in selecting our candidates,” the letter says. “Idaho Republicans enjoy huge majorities in registration, at the polls, and in elective office. Our party has worked hard to earn the trust of all Republicans and voters in Idaho. We should not take that trust for granted by alienating those who continue to give us these majorities.”
June 13, 2013
Dear Members of the Idaho Republican Central Committee:
We are writing to alert you to a proposed change in the Idaho Republican Party Rules which we believe will be very harmful to the Republican Party in Idaho. (The text of the proposed rule change, 2013-P08, is reprinted below.)
This proposed rule change would place the power to select Republican Candidates entirely within the State Party Central Committee for State and Federal Candidates; the Legislative District Committees for all legislative candidates; and the County Central Committees for all county candidates.
This proposal, while it allows for more than one “endorsement” in any given race, will likely eliminate Republican primary elections in Idaho and disenfranchise the overwhelming majority of Idaho Republicans. As an example, in the 2012 Twin Falls County Republican Primary 7,140 Republicans cast ballots—an impressive 63% of the registered Republicans in Twin Falls County. If the proposed rule had been in effect in 2012, Republican nominations would have been decided by the 45 members of the Twin Falls County Republican Central Committee—a mere .39% of registered Twin Falls Republicans.
Before 2012 Idaho Republicans had a legitimate concern that non-Republicans were voting in our primaries and selecting our candidates. With the primary now open only to registered Republicans that concern no longer exists. As you know, current party rules allow Central Committees to endorse candidates in primaries. What then, is the rationale for disenfranchising actual registered Republicans by giving a handful of insiders a veto over which candidates are allowed to run as Republicans?
How can we justify to members of our party and to Idaho citizens that we have eliminated the vast majority of Republicans from the candidate selection process? The problem is even more obvious when there is an uncontested general election—our elected officials could become selected officials.
Idaho’s Republican Party should be open to all Republicans, not just those with the keys to the “smoke-filled room.” All registered Republicans should have a voice in selecting our candidates. Idaho Republicans enjoy huge majorities in registration, at the polls, and in elective office. Our party has worked hard to earn the trust of all Republicans and voters in Idaho. We should not take that trust for granted by alienating those who continue to give us these majorities.
Please help us defeat this restrictive proposal at the upcoming Central Committee Meeting in McCall.
Butch Otter, Governor
Brad Little, Lt. Governor
Tom Luna, Superintendent of Schools
Brandon Woolf, State Controller
Ron Crane, State Treasurer
Ben Ysursa, Secretary of State
Lawrence Wasden, Attorney General
Scott Bedke, Speaker of the House
Brent Hill, Idaho Senate President Pro
Shawn Keough, Sen. Dist. 1
Eric Anderson, Rep. Dist.1A
George Eskridge, Rep. Dist. 1B
Luke Malek, Rep. Dist. 4A
Jim Rice, Sen. Dist. 10
Darrell Bolz, Rep. Dist. 10B
Christy Perry, Rep Dist. 11B
Patti Ann Lodge, Sen Dist 11
Todd Lakey, Sen. Dist 12
Robert Anderst, Rep. Dist. 12A
Rick Youngblood, Rep. Dist. 12B
Bert Brackett, Sen. Dist. 23
Lee Heider, Sen. Dist. 24
Lance Clow, Rep. Dist. 24A
Stephen Hartgen, Rep. Dist. 24B
Jim Patrick, Sen. Dist. 25
Maxine Bell, Rep. Dist. 25A
Clark Kauffman, Rep. Dist. 25B
Dean Cameron, Sen. Dist. 27
Fred Wood, Rep. Dist. 27B
Jim Guthrie, Sen. Dist. 28
Kelley Packer, Rep. Dist. 28B
Wendy Horman, Rep. Dist. 30B
Steve Bair, Sen. Dist. 31
Julie VanOrden, Rep. Dist. 31B
Neil Anderson, Rep. 31A
Marc Gibbs, Rep. Dist. 32A
Bart Davis, Sen. Dist. 33
Janet Trujillo, Rep. Dist. 33A
Douglas Hancey, Rep. Dist. 34A
Dell Raybould, Rep. Dist. 34B
Jeff Siddoway, Sen. Dist. 35
Paul Romerll, Rep. Dist. 35B
Wayne Hurst, Chair Cassia County
Mark Peterson, Chair Legislative Dist. 27
Jim Tibbs, Ada County Commissioner
Rick Yzaguirre, Ada County Commissioner
Dave Case, Ada County Commissioner
Greg Bower, Ada County Prosecutor
Gary Raney, Ada County Sheriff
Stacy Dreyer, Adams County Assessor
Dave Packer, Bannock County Assessor
Vicki Heuett, Blaine County Treasurer
Jerry Clemons, Bonner County Assessor
Dwight Davis, Cassia County Assessor
Ron Fisher, Elmore County Assessor
Jase Cundick, Franklin County Assessor
Kathy Thompson, Freemont County Assessor
Mike McDowell, Kootenai County Assessor
Linda Jones, Lincoln County Assessor
Sharon Worley, Payette County Assessor
Terry Kramer, Twin Falls County
George Urie, Twin Falls County Commissioner
Leon Mills, Twin Falls County Commissioner
Grant Loebs, Twin Falls County Prosecutor
Debbie Kauffman, Twin Falls County
Gerald Bowden, Twin Falls County Assessor
Kristina Glascock, Twin Falls County Clerk
Tom Carter, Twin Falls County Sheriff
Twin Falls County Republican Central Committee
|Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter
I will not mince words: I strongly encourage you to think critically about all the rules and resolutions before you at this weekend’s meeting of the Idaho Republican Party Central Committee, and I urge you to join me in opposing the proposed changes to our rules for candidate selection.
Many of the rules and resolutions before you, taken collectively, amount to an indictment of the very men and women who helped build and maintain the majority we enjoy in Idaho. It is my considered opinion that the willingness by our citizens to identify themselves as members of the Idaho Republican Party and to serve in elected office should be celebrated, not harshly scrutinized for philosophical purity.
To govern effectively and wisely, our calculus for public policy must take into account not only the most fervently ideological among us, but also those with whom we earnestly disagree. As Ronald Reagan put it, “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20-percent traitor.”
Our primary elections now are closed to non-Republicans. Our Central Committee already has the authority to endorse candidates in primary elections. The goal of our party – of any political movement – should be to broaden and deepen its appeal through open debate, reason and results. Instead, we seem intent on narrowing our focus and our appeal by excluding those with whom we occasionally disagree through selection of candidates behind closed doors.
I believe in the ability of Idaho voters, and specifically Idaho Republican voters, to sort through the information and reach appropriate conclusions about their fitness for office without the guiding hand of the Central Committee winnowing those choices for them. What’s more, I believe efforts to devalue the franchise of Idaho voters runs counter to fundamental Republican principles.
Please consider these few thoughts as you cast your own votes on the rules and resolutions before the Central Committee. Thank you for your consideration and your support.
As Always – Idaho, “Esto Perpetua”
C.L. “Butch” Otter
Governor of Idaho