Idaho Dems Consider Dropping Caucuses for Primary

Betsy Z. Russell works as staff writer for The Spokesman-Review. In that position, Russell covers Idaho news from our bureau in BoiseVia Betsy Russell’s blog An Eye on Boise at the Spokesman Review :

At the Idaho Democratic Party’s three day state convention, which wrapped up over the weekend, delegates approved a resolution calling for changing the party’s current caucus system for presidential nominee selection to something more inclusive – something “at least as inclusive” as a primary election. That’s a sign that the Democrats are poised to follow Idaho Republicans in shifting from presidential caucuses to a primary.

Republicans made the move this year, drawing record turnout. Their previous presidential caucuses had drawn complaints about long events stretching late into the night – something many voters, whether because of age, health, or family commitments, or even because they’re military members serving overseas or out of state, couldn’t participate in. The Democratic caucuses this year also drew record turnout, leading to hours-long lines and similar complaints.

Democrats were among the leading critics of the new $2 million presidential-only primary, which is funded by the state’s taxpayers. But state Democratic Party Chairman Bert Marley told the Idaho Statesman, “It’s a really reasonable thing for the delegates to be talking about. We do want to do a deep dive into this and see how we can handle it best.”

Republicans, he said, have made the presidential primary in Idaho a “done deal.” Said Marley, “A lot people say, ‘Well we’re going to be paying for it anyhow. We might as well be using it, too.’ ”