June 24, 2023
Summer Meeting Wrap
The conservative wing of the Idaho GOP got work done
By: Brian Almon
The 2023 summer meeting of the Idaho Republican Party wrapped up early Saturday afternoon after two productive days. A large docket of rules, resolutions, and unfinished business stood before the state central committee.
As a refresher: The Idaho GOP state central committee is the governing body of the party. Precinct committeemen are elected by Republican voters, and those PCs in turn elect leaders who chair legislative district and county committees. The chairs of each of these committees (44 counties and 35 legislative districts) sit on the state central committee, and each county also elects a state committeeman, committeewoman, and committee youth person.
The executive board of the state central committee is composed of the officers elected at the biannual convention – chair, 1st vice chair, 2nd vice chair, treasurer, and secretary – as well as the national committeeman and committeewoman who are elected every four years. They are joined by the seven region chairs, who are elected by the district chairs in each region, as well as four non-elected members: the heads of three private clubs – the Young Republicans, Federation of Republican Women, and College Republicans – as well as the finance chair, who is appointed by the state chair.
This is the committee that met in Challis this weekend.
On Friday night, the Rules Committee and Resolutions Committee each met to consider the proposals that had been submitted by PCs and committees throughout the state. Any PC or committee officer can submit a resolution or rule change for consideration. District 14, for example voted to endorse a resolution condemning US involvement in the wars in Syria and Yemen. While that might seem out of the scope of the state party, the purpose is to inform Sen. Jim Risch, the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, that his constituents are tired of American warmongering.
Ada County submitted several rules and resolutions regarding the new dues structure, which has been a source of conflict with the state party. Each one was defeated in committee, never making it to the floor. Whatever the merits of the issue, the ACRCC has developed a poor reputation, coming across as a bully that wants to dominate the rest of the state. When it comes to the state, however, persuasion is the only way forward.
The general session began with the surprise resignation of National Committeeman Damond Watkins. The executive board was due to hear the findings of a committee tasked with investigating the matter of his residency, so his days might have been numbered anyway. The whole affair – from Watkins taking a job out of state, to the overzealous investigation thereof by fellow party officials – was unfortunate. The seat is now vacant and the state chair must call a special meeting of the state central committee to fill the position.
The committee then picked up the unfinished business from the winter meeting: Rule 2023-7, moving four members of the state executive board from voting to non-voting status. KCRCC State Committee Youth Person Dan Bell gave a convincing presentation as to why this rule was necessary, including a handout that was distributed to attendees.
Due to the sensitive and contentious nature of this issue, the body chose to conduct the vote by secret ballot. The results were announced after lunch: 137-79 in favor of adopting the rule. This was a huge statement by the party that transparency and accountability in leadership are important. The leaders of the IYR, IFRW, and ICR remain on the executive board as ex oficio members, able to offer their perspectives and argue their points, but without the right to vote.
The rest of the meeting might have felt anticlimactic after that, but there was still important work to be done. Among the rules passed Saturday afternoon:
- 2023-8: This gives committees the ability to hold elected representatives accountable to the Idaho Republican platform. It creates a mechanism for notifying representatives that they have strayed, gives them a chance to respond, and gives committees the power to censure, and even with a supermajority vote to restrict that representative’s right to run under the Republican banner.
- 2023-13: Clarifying and reforming the proxy vote system for committee meetings. This was becoming an issue in Ada County as officers sometimes walked into meetings carrying more than a dozen proxy votes. Proxies are inherently anti-republican, as the absent PCs miss out on discussion and debate prior to votes. As I read it, the rule eliminates proxy voting entirely in Ada County as we have a system of alternate PCs already in place.
- 2023-16: This was a followup to a new rule at the last meeting that creates a dues structure for counties to pay toward the state party. This adds an enforcement mechanism, enabling the state party to restrict delegates from counties that have not paid their dues.
Rule 2023-19 would have forced county committee executive boards to include as voting members legislative district chairs within their borders. It was probably for the best, as the relationships of counties and legislative districts varies throughout the state. We in Ada County should be able to fix our own issues without getting the state involved.
The committee also endorsed each of the resolutions that had been passed by the committee the night before. The three most consequential were:
- 2023-43: This was drafted as a vote of no confidence in the fourteen Republican representatives who voted against overriding Gov. Brad Little’s veto of H314, the School and Library Protection Act. During floor debate, it was amended to include Little himself, and the resolution passed. The Idaho GOP officially condemns Little and the fourteen for failing to protect children.
- 2023-48: A condemnation of US involvement in the war in Syria. American troops have been active there for a decade now, despite no declaration of war or authorization by Congress, and despite President Trump ordering them withdrawn during his administration. I was proud that LD14 played a part in this resolution being adopted by the central committee.
- 2023-52: This was a harsh condemnation of the FBI, giving a litany of abuses going back decades, including Ruby Ridge. It demands that the FBI be reformed, and failing that, be abolished. A very strong statement from the Idaho GOP.
This was a productive meeting for the cause of liberty in Idaho. The Republican Party emerges from this stronger and more focused on winning the ideological battle in which we are all engaged.
One other piece of business was settled this weekend: the location of the 2024 State Convention. I will see you next summer in Coeur d’Alene!