Idaho Republican state convention kicks off Thursday in Coeur d’Alene

Hundreds of Republican delegates from across the state will gather in Coeur d’Alene beginning Thursday to elect a party chairperson and vote on the Idaho Republican Party’s platform, rules and resolutions.

The Idaho Republican State Convention is scheduled to run Thursday through Sunday at the Coeur d’Alene Resort and North Idaho College.

The state convention is held every two years and is where delegates elected by Republican county central committees gather to elect the party’s leadership and approve rules, resolutions and a party platform that will guide the party moving forward.

“Our biennial convention will be where we do the work of the party and celebrate our conservative values with fellow Republicans from all across the Great State of Idaho,” Idaho Republican Party Chairwoman Dorothy Moon wrote in a letter to Idaho Republicans that is included in the convention program.

While delegates have the power to approve party rules and resolutions, they do not have the power to pass laws. Only the Idaho Legislature and citizens, using the ballot initiative process, can pass laws.

The state convention also serves as a major fundraiser for the Idaho Republican Party. In addition to delegates, alternates and guests selected by the county central committees will also attend.

On Friday night Kari Lake, a former television news anchor who is running for the United States Senate in Arizona, will speak during the Idaho Republican Party’s convention gallery.

At the Idaho GOP convention, news reporters will not be allowed inside business meetings during the convention and will be restricted to a designated area outside of meeting rooms, according to an email Idaho Republican Party officials sent the Idaho Capital Sun on June 7.

Idaho GOP chair candidates Moon and Souza have run against each other before

One of the closely watched agenda items this week will be the election of the Idaho Republican Party’s chair.

Last week, former state Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene, announced that she is challenging Moon in the race for Idaho Republican Party chair.

Moon is also a former Idaho legislator from Stanley. Moon and Souza  ran unsuccessfully in the 2022 Republican primary election for secretary of state, which got heated at times – including during the 2022 Idaho Debates.

In her announcement last week, Souza said she is running to unify the party under a conservative umbrella.

“I am running to restore unity within our party and to reaffirm our dedication to the conservative values that have long defined the Republican spirit,” Souza wrote June 6 in a written statement. “Our party stands at a crossroads, and it is essential that we come together to support the robust agenda set forth by President Donald Trump, to secure our southern border and to protect Idaho from the scourge of drugs like marijuana and fentanyl. The future of our state and our nation depends on our ability to stand united against the threats that challenge our way of life,” Souza continued. “Together, we can achieve great things for Idaho. It’s time to come together, as one unified Republican Party, and secure a brighter future for our state.”

Souza is a former critical care registered nurse who served four terms in the Idaho Senate. Souza finished third in the 2022 Republican primary election for secretary of state, which current Idaho Secretary of State Phil McGrane won.

Moon is a former public school special education director and gold miner who served three terms in the Idaho House of Representatives. Moon was elected chairwoman of the Idaho Republican Party during the 2022 Republican State Convention in Twin Falls, wresting control of the party away from former chairman and ex public schools chief Tom Luna.

Efforts to reach Moon on Monday were unsuccessful.

This biennial event unites representatives of the Republican grassroots to conduct party business and celebrate the values that bind us together. In a June 6 column Moon also wrote about the importance of unifying the party, writing that the convention itself offers Republicans across the state to unite heading into the Nov. 5 general election.

“Delegates and guests will have the chance to meet like-minded individuals from every corner of our great state and equip themselves with tools to become better voters, activists, and candidates,” Moon wrote. “Attendees will return home energized and ready to fight for faith, family and freedom in their communities.”

Idaho GOP to also vote on ranked choice voting, party affiliation

On top of the party leadership elections, Republican delegates will also vote on a proposed party platform and  rules resolutions.

The party platform is a document that reflects the values and beliefs of the Idaho Republican Party.Proposed rules, resolutions and platform planks up for consideration during this week’s convention address an array of topics.

Some of the proposed rules, resolutions and platforms deal with:

  • Adding a plank to the party platform expressing formal opposition to ranked to choice voting, a component of the open primary ballot initiative that supporters hope to qualify for the Nov. 5 general election.
  • Various platform planks and resolutions addressing undocumented immigration and calling on the government to “secure” the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
  • A platform plank calling on support for Israel.
  • A platform plank calling on the state to abolish the income tax.
  • A resolution calling for the Idaho Republican Party to encourage the Idaho Legislature to make and pass bills that ban any vote by mail elections and voting center style polling places and reduce absentee voting.
  • A proposed resolution calling for the chair of the Idaho Republican Party to file a lawsuit against the state in response to the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office not enforcing party affiliation deadlines that were not part of Idaho law, which the Sun has previously reported on.
  • A proposed resolution establishing a committee to consider alternatives to primary elections.
  • A resolution directing the chairperson of the Idaho Republican Party to send copies of the updated party platform to Republican candidates for office and have them indicate whether they support the platform, or identify any areas where they disagree.
  • A resolution calling for the Idaho Republican Party to encourage the Idaho Legislature to make and pass bills that ban any vote by mail elections and voting center style polling places and reduce absentee voting.

The proposed resolutions, rules and platform changes will first be considered during committee meetings on Thursday that will not be open to new reporters.

The Idaho Democratic Party State Convention runs June 22 and June 23 at the University of Idaho in Moscow.

Idaho Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Idaho Capital Sun maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Christina Lords for questions: [email protected]. Follow Idaho Capital Sun on Facebook and Twitter.

Clark Corbin, Idaho Capital Sun

Clark Corbin, Idaho Capital Sun

Clark Corbin has more than a decade of experience covering Idaho government and politics. He has covered every Idaho legislative session since 2011 gavel-to-gavel. Prior to joining the Idaho Capital Sun he reported for the Idaho Falls Post Register and Idaho Education News.

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