Beck, Hartgen, others respond to proposed GOP rule change

After my post on the Idaho GOP proposed rule change, I kept an eye on the responses on social media. Here are a few that stood out.

Jared Larsen wrote this on my Facebook page: “I’ll be there (at the meeting). And if it gets out of the Rules Committee, I’ll be voting against it.”

Rep. Stephen Hartgen, on his Facebook page: “Here’s the resolution the TF GOP Central committee approved in May opposing a rule change which would allow only endorsed candidates to appear on the GOP primary ballot. We’ve submitted this resolution to the GOP for consideration this weekend at the summer meeting in McCall. As one of the drafters of this resolution, I do not think eliminating primaries as a way of candidate selection would be right for our state or party. The Idaho GOP has earned the continuing support of the people of the state through an open selection process of candidates, chosen by the people. The resolution opposes the rule which would eliminate this open process. “(Click on the link to read the resolution language.)

(By the way, many other Republican lawmakers have “liked” Hartgen’s posts against the proposal, including Jim Patrick, Jim Rice, Brandon Hixon, Shawn Keough and Darrel Bolz.)

Former Senate majority leader Rod Beck, who proposed the rule, responded to criticism on Hartgen’s Facebook page. “It’s interesting how this simple proposal has caused such a response. Some people are so intent on preserving their own position and are willing to do and say anything to hold onto power! At least the Idaho Republican Party is willing to consider all ideas presented. As opposed to the Idaho House of Representatives that would not allow an elected member to introduce an alternative plan. Simply amazing.”

Beck and Hartgen also had an exchange over the proposal in this thread.

Rep. Kelley Packer: “I, as a Republican, am in complete opposition to the proposed rule change. We should never limit the freedoms of others to choose what party they belong to and believe in, nor should we limit their right to run for office. Even if this rule passes, which I don’t believe it will, I don’t believe it would hold up under Idaho law.”

Times-News reporter Kimberlee Kruesi is heading to McCall to cover the meeting this weekend. Watch her Twitter feed, TNKruesi, for updates.

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5 Responses to Beck, Hartgen, others respond to proposed GOP rule change

  1. Jared Larsen says:

    What’s more, I think it is possible the rule change would be illegal, or at a minimum open the party to expensive and embarrassing litigation. Not to bore you with the legalese…I’m wondering if the proponents of the rule are relying on the Idaho Republican Party v. Ysursa case in 2011. In that case, Judge Winmill held that forcing an open primary on a political party infringed on that party’s First Amendment right of association. It isn’t a broad ruling allowing political parties to place burdensome litmus tests on members. It simply allows parties to require that one be a member to participate in the process.

    Idaho Code § 59-101 states that “every qualified elector shall be eligible to hold any office of this state for which he is an elector.” As a matter of right, all residents of Idaho who are qualified to vote for a specific office can also seek that elected office so long as they meet the Constitutional and statutory requirements of the office (i.e. age, or famously the requirement to hold a degree to be Superintendent of Public Instruction). Any other restrictions on candidacy beyond party registration could likely be struck down because they deprive the electorate a full opportunity to choose among all candidates who wish to seek a given office. (See the final paragraph of Section II in Langmeyer v. State, 104 Idaho 53 (1982).

    The point is we are not dealing solely with the Idaho GOP’s associational rights here like were in the litigation of close primaries. If the Idaho GOP claims to exercise its associational rights to limit who can appear on the ballot, it is not only infringing on an elector’s right to seek office it is also infringing on the electorate’s right to vote for that candidate. This should be cause for concern for the Idaho GOP. Particularly if I, as only 1/3 of attorney having only completed one year of law school, can identify the potential legal issue here.

  2. slfisher says:

    I don’t think it’s accurate to imply that ‘liking’ something on Facebook means one supports something. “Like” is the term Facebook uses, but in practice many people “like” things they actually find reprehensible because it’s the only way to follow a conversation.

  3. Sharon: Well, you can interpret their “likes” how you want, but I have yet to see a currently serving Republican lawmaker support the proposal. That doesn’t mean there aren’t supporters in the Legislature, but every single one I’ve seen speak or write about it has been adamantly against it. The point is, they liked Hartgen’s take-down of the proposed rule change. They didn’t click “like” on Rod Beck’s defense of it. I think that’s pretty clear.

  4. Sen. Jim Rice says:

    I am one of those lawmakers who “liked” Representative Hartgen’s post. The proposal is misguided and destructive. First, Mr. Beck wanted Republicans to register as Republicans to vote in the primary and now he wants to tell them they can be trusted to choose the Republican candidates. The idea is ridiculous!

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