Idaho GOP gathering to focus on faith, freedom – and guns

From the Idaho Statesman

Faith, freedom, family — and don’t forget firearms — will be the uniting themes this week as hundreds of GOP delegates travel to Nampa to discuss party platforms and elect Republican leaders.

The three-day convention starts on Thursday. Republicans are hoping for a smoother outcome than the chaotic 2014 convention, which failed to get anything done because of political infighting.

Each county and state legislative district will send at least three delegates to the convention, with more being voted in depending on how many voters showed up in the last congressional election.


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At the top of the convention to-do list is to select a state party chairman. Whoever wins will serve a two-year term. At least three names have emerged so far as top contenders for the seat. Those include current chair Steve Yates, who is seeking a second term; Blackfoot sheep herder Mike Duff; and former state Rep. Kathy Sims. Russ Fulcher, who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2014 as a tea party candidate, denied he was running for the seat despite being encouraged to do so.

Other actions include naming delegates for the upcoming Republican national convention. Attendees will also be amending the party’s platforms, voting on new party rules and resolutions. These amendments usually result in lively discussions as delegates from the traditional establishment fight for control with tea party forces.


Conventions are traditionally a springboard to rally party members behind chosen candidates and show off party strength.

In Idaho, the Republican Party already has a stronghold in almost every level of political office. That means the convention can be a time to mend broken fences between the far right supporters and more traditional establishment members. That said, party platforms and resolutions aren’t legally binding. So even if the party approves a resolution that focuses on opposing refugee resettlement, which was proposed during the state GOP central committee winter meeting, it doesn’t carry any power.


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 It’s not a requirement, but at the very least, you can expect to see plenty of firearms throughout the convention. Firearms are part of this year’s theme. That means the convention will have advanced target practice with live ammunition, as well workshops on the 2nd Amendment.

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