Party time: Republicans and Democrats kick off political conventions this week

Political candidates and partisan loyalists will gather this week as Idaho’s two main political parties hold conventions on opposite sides of the state.

The conventions offer candidates the chance to pitch their messages to delegates and a friendly supporter base and kick their general election campaigns into gear. The events also offer party organizers the chance to unite their base, raise some money and build alliances.

State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra

But one major candidate is not expected to attend. Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra is on vacation through July 6 and does not appear anywhere on the Idaho Republican Party’s convention schedule.

“As far as I know, she’s not coming,” Idaho GOP spokeswoman Mary Strow wrote in an email to Idaho Education News.

Ybarra is running for re-election in November, and faces Democratic challenger Cindy Wilson.

Ybarra’s campaign staff did not immediately respond to an inquiry Tuesday about her convention plans. Ybarra’s nonpartisan State Department of Education staff has made a policy of not commenting on campaign matters.

The Republican Party kicks off its convention first, with events starting Thursday morning at Holt Arena on the Idaho State University campus.

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The schedule includes a fundraiser dinner with Oliver North, a political commentator, retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and the incoming president of the National Rifle Association.

Lt. Gov. Brad Little, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, will headline a reception at 5 p.m. Thursday at Holt Arena. Most state candidates including 1st Congressional District hopeful Russ Fulcher are set to speak Friday afternoon.

The Republican convention is scheduled to wrap up Saturday afternoon.

The Democrats kick off their convention Friday morning at College of Idaho in Caldwell.

Let America Vote founder and Kansas City mayoral candidate Jason Kander will headline the Democrats’ convention with a fundraiser address at 7 p.m. Friday.

Meanwhile, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan will address the convention at 10 a.m. Friday. Meanwhile, Wilson will speak at a fundraiser reception at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

The Democrats’ convention is scheduled to adjourn Saturday night.

At both conventions, party delegates will conduct training and consider changes to their party platforms.

More information, including detailed schedules are available online.

Click here for more information about the Republican convention.

Click here for more information about the Democratic convention.

The general election is set for Nov. 6.

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