BCRCC Endorsements Applied Equally?
By Kathy Rose
There seems to be a lot of talk recently about influencing elections, from social media propaganda to the recorded conversation of Kari Lake with the Arizona GOP chairman. But trying to make people drop out of races or just dissuading others from running is not just happening at the federal level.
In the past, the local Bonner County Republican Committee (BCRCC) would wait until after the candidate filing deadline, then vet and interview all the candidates and even hold public forums. The BCRCC would discuss and vote on their recommendations for the Republican primary.
In 2023 the committee went beyond standard endorsements. They decided to start choosing candidates a full year before the 2024 primary elections. Repeatedly explained by several committee members that they wanted to discourage others from running, i.e., limiting your choice. Is this in violation of the Idaho GOP Rules which states “Endorsements may only be made by a majority vote of the voting members and available to all eligible candidates for any given office being endorsed.”? All eligible candidates are not known until the filing deadline has passed in March.
The culling started last May when the BCRCC considered two people who wanted to run for House Seat LD1-A. One person was persuaded to run for Seat B and with the promise of committee backing. That support seemed doubtful to many and was quickly proven disingenuous.
In early summer, a press release was published announcing the BCRCC was looking for candidates for the county commissioner races. Casting aside the other conservatives, a District 1 candidate was chosen to endorse. Currently, no one who has expressed an interest in running for District 3 has received the required 75% member support.
Months before the official announcement from Rep Dixon (LD1-B) that he would not be running for re-election, numerous people appeared before the BCRCC to express their interest. No press release was made, and only certain BCRCC committee members were aware that the seat would become vacant, therefore limiting the potential candidates to be considered. The committee hastened a vote to support someone who was a complete unknown, had no political or party experience and who admitted he was “educated” in his questionnaire response. Two good candidates were rejected – one works with a current state rep and the other is a sitting school board trustee. Both were visibly disappointed in the choice.
As things happen, the chosen LD1-B candidate had to back out of the race and the BCRCC is in a panic. The most electable candidates had been shunned and no longer want to run. As a knee-jerk compromise, the committee is considering throwing their approval behind their third-choice candidate.
It must be noted that all this “support” was given with the caveat that the BCRCC could change its mind at any time. Does that reflect credibility and integrity? Who’s out on a limb here?
With all this in mind, was the process applied equally? No. The BCRCC never even mentioned a consideration of an endorsement of an LD1 Senate candidate. You might be scratching your head on this one because the sitting senator is Scott Herndon – who is also the chair of the BCRCC. Why wasn’t a request for candidates made, an interview process conducted, and an official blessing of BCRCC given? Why wasn’t the process applied consistently? Why no endorsement of Herndon?
As a member of the BCRCC for nearly eight years, I write so that Republicans are aware of what is happening within the local Republican party so you can make informed decisions. More information to follow in the coming weeks.