In the fight for the Republican nomination for the next Idaho school principal, local Republican Central Committees served as both battlefields and allies of the campaign.
Echoing the past, local party officials nominated candidates for the platform when judging registered Republicans, whom they must defeat in closed primaries. Branden Durst and Debbie Critchfield traveled the state as part of a campaign that had been under preparation for more than a year, meeting with party officials and presenting their concerns to incumbent President Gray Ibar. Ibara joined them on stage at at least six public forums and visited a local GOP group a few months before announcing her re-election application.
Breaking away from the past, several county parties have chosen a side for the year when Idaho Republicans remain sharply divided between hardliners and major candidates. And according to some reports, unique primaries have changed the election trail itself.
“It’s an interesting dynamic – to go as a candidate in a place that already supported an opponent even before you even showed up,” said Kritchfield, former president of the Idaho Board of Education.
Some district Republican Republicans are seeking to turn the race around. Most follow tradition.
Local Republican parties have taken the unusual step of sacrificing their chosen candidates for the primaries this spring, sparking anger from the state party and causing discord among the candidates.
But of the eight county parties that donated in races across the state, only one was involved in the campaign of the superintendent candidate when the Bonville County Republican Party donated $ 5,000 to Durst. Elmar, Lewis, Custer, Boehner, Clearwater, Benevo and Cootena counties donated to other hardliners, including the governor’s campaign of Lieutenant Janice McGitchin, Attorney General McGitchin’s Attorney General Art Macomber, and Republican Prime Minister Whitegill White. , and a representative of Dorothy Moon, R. Stanley, in his candidacy for Secretary of State.
However, financial support is not the only lever that local parties have used to win the race. This year, the Kutena County Republican Republican Party released approval from hardliners, including Durst, clearly seeking to win the race. On social media, Durst also advertised approval from the Adams County Republican Party, although EdNews was unable to verify its authenticity. Durst did not respond to a request for an interview for this story, and with Republican Chairman Adams Christopher Boyd could not be reached for comment.
Most local parties, 36 of them, followed the tradition – and in many cases their own statutes – while remaining neutral in the primaries. The unprecedented number of parties that expressed approval caused distrust not only among the candidates who were not approved, but also among the chairman of the Republican Party, Tom Luna. Luna has demanded that the GOP of Bonneville County correct a violation of its own statute caused by its donations, according to the Post Register reported; the local party responded by removing a statute that barred itself from making donations to candidates in the primary election and then ratifying donations that violated the statute, EastIdahoNews.com reported.
“Now we can make donations in any race, from a dog catcher to the president of the United States,” said Republican Committee Chairman Mark Fuller.
Former State Representative Britt Reibuld is a party official in Madison County, where Republican authorities have not made such donations. In her race to oust Ron Nate, R-Rexburg MP, Nate received $ 1,000 from the Republican Party of Bonneville County; she compared the financial favoritism of candidates with unfair electoral practices in communist countries in a recent interview with EdNews. Mary Souza’s MP, R-Coeur d’Alene, who is running for secretary of state, wrote caustic op-ed condemning the “Republican culture of abolition” after the Kuteny County Republican Party backed its opponent, Dorothy Moon’s representative, R-Stanley.
“They pierce the feces in the heart of the party, creating deep divisions and confronting friends with friends,” Souza wrote.
Dissatisfaction in the races of the foreman is no different.
“Surprisingly, the Central Committee would weigh in on Republican primaries for Republican candidates and, in effect, would like to speak on behalf of voters for the entire county,” Critfield told EdNews.
“As an example, Bonneville County in my own race chose to support someone who is a career politician as a Democrat … and sought a Democrat job in Washington,” she said, criticizing Durst, a former Democratic senator. party, for his change of party.
Durst was happy to talk about his support on social media.
«Thanks (Bonneville GOP) for taking your responsibility as GOP brand leaders seriously and making sure voters know which candidates are genuine conservative Republicans, ”Durst said. tweeted. “Too many candidates claim to be Republicans, but then they are supported by groups against the Republican Party.”
Local party officials who led the approval did not make their decisions.
Asked how the GOP of Bonneville County hopes to affect the race, Fuller told EdNews: “We have some things we have planned, but I’m not going to tell you them.”
He declined to comment further.
Kutenna County Republican Party Chairman Brent Regan declined a telephone interview but offered to answer questions by email. He then did not answer questions via email.
The Latah Republican Party has taken a more traditional approach, refusing to support major candidates financially or otherwise.
“Philosophically, we have taken the position that if we start supporting candidates and then defend those candidates without recognizing other candidates who can run, we are taking away the vote in our constituency,” Latah GOP Chairman Dan Schoenberg told EdNews. on the phone last month.
Schoenberg is not aware of a single case where his county has made an initial approval in a race across the state. And nationwide local approvals have made the election vague.
“There may have been one or two counties in the past that did something similar, but not to the extent we see this year,” Schoenberg said.
Local plots are located in a prominent place on the company map
Most local parties have more traditionally interacted with candidates for leadership, giving them the opportunity to speak and share information about all three contenders. Much of this interaction between candidates and parties took place on the Lincoln Days chain, a series of events in which local parties receive invited speakers and, often, candidates.
Critchfield said last month that she missed only three Lincoln Day events and relied on her a huge edge in fundraising pay for time to talk to members, as required by a minority of local Republican parties. It was one element of a blitz campaign that included attending 50 schools, purchasing Hulu advertising and presenting strangers at gas stations, she said.
Durst and Ibara also spent a lot of time with local party officials. Look no further than Ibar’s visit to Kutena County last winter, when she quickly raised a critical racial theory and said she “heard your concerns about some of our worst offenders, such as School District of Kerr d’Allen». (She later qualified the claim through a spokeswoman, saying she heard only concerns about critical race theory in the Coeur d’Alene, EdNews reported).
Ibara has not yet announced her candidacy for re-election, but the tone of her election campaign was unmistakable when she appealed to the constituency, which proved crucial to her latest election victory.
Ultimately, the Kutenai Central Committee would throw its weight behind Durst, who argues that left-wing indoctrination is widespread in public schools. Ibara and Kritchfield, on the other hand, said they saw no evidence of critical racial theory, an academic concept that has become a peg in conservative circles for leftist teachings – in Idaho schools.
Ibara did not officially start her campaign until the end of February 2022, however, a few weeks before the application deadline, which gave her about a year less to advertise her record at local GOP events. Brokel Chafetz, Ibar’s spokeswoman, did not respond to a request for an interview.
Despite the fact that the superintendent’s campaign passed through local Republican parties, the candidates repeatedly risked speaking to the general public.
The field was divided on these non-partisan platforms. These divisions erupted in the KTVB debate when both Durst and Kritchfield declined to say whether they would support the final Republican candidate if they lost the race; Ibara said she would, calling herself an “adult in the room”.
The candidate, to be determined on May 17, will meet with former Idaho Education Association president and single Democrat Terry Gilbert in the general election.
Additional reading: Listen directly from the candidates our survey.
Idaho Education News reporter Devin Bodkin contributed to this story.
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