Saving our Republican soul

By Sandy Patano
Co-founder North Idaho Republicans
Former Vice Chair Idaho Republican Party
Lifelong Republican

Sandy PatanoThis year’s May 21 primary presents not just a contest of names and faces, but a critical crossroads for the soul of the Republican Party in Kootenai County. Amidst an unprecedented display of competitive democracy, with 70 out of 73 Precinct Committeeman positions contested, a narrative has emerged by current KCRCC leaders attempting to paint North Idaho Republicans (NIR) as outsiders (or RINO’s) within our own party.

False claims of widespread liberal infiltration by those with opposing views may stir emotions, but they do little to foster constructive dialogue for the real 21st Century challenges we face. We must remember that the strength of our Republican Party lies in our ability to debate our ideas vigorously within a framework of mutual respect and to emerge united in our purpose.

Let’s be unequivocally clear: These baseless claims are not only unfounded but are divisive tactics intended to sow discord and mistrust among loyal Republicans. North Idaho Republicans, founded by over 80 longtime local Republicans, has a deep commitment to the restoration of the Republican Party’s foundational principles – principles that seem to have been overshadowed locally by internal conflicts, needless power struggles and accusations that distract from our true adversaries – the leftists.

The false assertion that our efforts represent a hostile takeover by disguised Democrats is a narrative we flatly and firmly reject. These lies are a blatant disservice to the robust, conservative dialogue that has historically been the Republican Party’s hallmark in Kootenai County. Our mission is to restore integrity, transparency, and accountability within the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee (KCRCC), ensuring it represents the true spirit of conservatism—where leadership embodies honesty, integrity, and an unwavering commitment to the rule of law.

The KCRCC practice of “rating/vetting” candidates, while intended to guide voters, has become a weaponized tool for epic division, purposely pitting Republicans against Republicans and diluting the essence of our democratic process.

It’s time to ask: Who vets the vetters? Why should loyalty oaths to party leaders, party rules, one sided endorsements, and threats of censure determine our commitment to conservatism? The oaths we believe in are to the Idaho State and U.S. Constitutions.

Our liberal adversaries delight in our division, not our unity. As such, North Idaho Republicans refuse to engage in misleading rhetoric. Instead, we want to uphold traditional Republican values, fostering community and respect for differing opinions, within the framework of our shared conservative ideals.

To those who cynically label our Republican members as “RINO’s”, “ANTI-MAGA” or “NEVER-Trumpers,” we pose this question: Is the litmus test to be a true Republican solely based on allegiance to a specific individual, or is it a steadfast commitment to our shared conservative principles? We argue for the latter. And besides, we will obviously support the Republican nominee. Our conservative focus is on individual dignity, the creation of opportunities with freedom to succeed, and a government that serves – but not rules – its people.

We are at a pivotal moment for Republicans in Kootenai County. This is not simply about filling precinct positions; it’s about reaffirming our party’s core values and charting a path forward rooted in shared dedication to principles that have always made our party strong. We face aggressive tactics designed to divide us, yet we remain rooted in the belief that the Republican Party is the best mechanism for transforming ideals into effective governance.

This May 21, as you head to the polls, remember what’s at stake. It’s not just about the future of the elected KCRCC membership, but the very soul of the Republican Party in Kootenai County. Let’s choose Precinct Committeemen, and committee leaders, who represent all facets of conservatism, who speak with honesty and act with integrity. We want leaders who understand that unity, not division, is the key to our success in North Idaho.

We invite every Republican to look beyond the rhetoric, to seek truth, and to stand with us as we strive to ensure our party remains a beacon of freedom, responsibility, and opportunity. This is our call to action—a call to defend our conservative values and to engage in the May primary process with the seriousness and respect it deserves. Only by voting for a new and different group of candidates can we change the harmful path we are currently on.

Let’s not be swayed by fear or division. Our community, our principles, and our country deserve better. Together, let’s make May 21st a turning point for the Republican Party in Kootenai County. And remember, Precinct Committeeman will be the most important race on your ballot!