By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
The Idaho GOP State Convention kicks off Thursday in Twin Falls and a variety of resolutions and elections are set for debate among Idaho Republicans.
The race for GOP Chair includes incumbent Tom Luna, who will be challenged by Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley. The party elected Luna, former Superintendent of Public Instruction, as chair in 2020.
In Moon’s announcement, she wrote “I am committed to the conservative values that have made Idaho, and our Republic, great: protecting life; safeguarding our children; expanding our Second Amendment liberties; sensibly managing our natural resources; and defending religious liberty.”
Moon announced her bid for Republican Party Chair this month.
Sen. Mary Souza, who ran for the Republican nomination for Secretary of State with Moon in May, sent out an email attacking Moon on July 12, claiming she “has lied repeatedly, shown very poor judgment, yet is now being propped up to run for Chair of the Idaho Republican Party.”
Ultimately, both Moon and Souza lost the race to Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane.
Souza’s email addressed several claims against Moon, including her public support for former Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger, who was recently convicted of raping a legislative intern.
There could be other challenges to leaders, but the GOP does not have candidate filing prior to the convention. Delegates nominate candidates during the convention, and those candidates may or may not announce their intent to run before the gathering.
Some party members have already gone public with plans to challenge party leaders.
Rep. Chad Christensen, R-Iona, announced over Facebook that he plans to run for the GOP second vice chair. The party’s current second vice chair is Mike Mathews.
Christensen lost his seat in the House in May to Josh Wheeler.
Elections at the convention take place Saturday. Check back with Idaho Reports for coverage.
Republicans from across the state have proposed at least 31 resolutions ranging from election security to the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. While resolutions aren’t binding, they often indicate what direction party members would like Idaho’s lawmakers to go in future public policy debates.
One proposed resolution, sponsored by Mark Fuller and approved by the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee, would force the state party to end a legal fight against the Bonneville committee.
The resolution, should it pass, states “Chairman Luna or his successor shall immediately dismiss the litigation in Ada County … filed by Chairman Luna and the Idaho State Republican Party against Bonneville County Central Committee and Executive Committee, with prejudice.”
The lawsuit in question remains pending in Ada County. Luna filed the lawsuit in his capacity as chairman, against Bonneville County Republican Central Committee for making what he characterized as unauthorized donations to non-county level candidates. The May lawsuit called it a “blatant disregard” for statutory obligations.
Luna claimed the committee endorsed candidates in the 2022 Republican primary in violation of bylaws.
Other proposed resolutions include topics such as limiting congressional term limits and issues around aid to Ukraine.
In addition to the Resolutions Committee, the convention has a Platform Committee, Rules Committee and Credentials Committee. At the Platform Committee, delegates consider changes to the party’s guiding document, which Republican candidates respond to in election questionnaires. This year’s proposed changes to the Republican platform include updating language on abortion in light of the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health decision, changing the makeup of the redistricting commission, promoting school choice and further closing the primary election.
Members of the Rules Committee consider changes to the party’s own rule structure, and the Credentials Committee hears challenges to delegations from central committees from around the state.
Unlike past years, the party is not allowing members of the media to attend committee meetings. Committee-approved proposals go before the general session, where all GOP delegates can vote on them. Those sessions on Friday and Saturday are open to the media.
The Idaho Democratic Party held its convention earlier this month.