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Ready to be duped again?

January 3, 2023

By Mary Souza

“I was duped!” This exclamation came from a Kootenai County voter after last May’s Republican Primary election. Many other voters have said the same as they realized the information they were given by their Republican central committees, about Republican Primary candidates, was manipulated, twisted, embellished or suppressed. Your voting decision was tainted by incomplete or blatantly false claims if you depended on the recommendations of these groups. And now they want to do it to you again, only at a much deeper and more sinister level.

On January 6, at the Idaho State GOP winter meeting in Boise, Republican delegates and certain committee members will decide on new rules to permanently curtail your right to candidate information. They honestly believe you are too dumb to make the decision yourself, so they will tell you how vote. I’m not making this up! I have been told this, to my face, by several key players in this charade.

One of those who told me is Bjorn Handeen, a quirky but charming guy up here in North Idaho. He is a key player on the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee (KCRCC) and is the Region 1 Chairman for the party. He will be influential at the GOP meeting in Boise this weekend but he is entirely obedient to the orders from this next person:

The guy most dangerous to your voting freedom is Brent Regan. Why is Brent dangerous? Because he thinks he is the smartest guy in any room, he has lots of money and he is power-obsessed. Brent is the chairman of our Kootenai County Central Committee, where the stealth method for manipulation of candidate information was invented last year. He is also Chairman of the board of Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF). I’ll explain about their lies in a later column.

Because, apparently, only two power positions are not enough control, Brent is also the chairman of the State GOP Rules Committee. This is where, on January 6, they will be hearing new rules to give themselves the exclusive power to select the only candidates allowed to run as Republicans in Idaho. Please read that last sentence again. Are you too dumb to evaluate candidates and decide for yourselves? Brent thinks so.

Here are the absurd new rules proposed for the state GOP meeting on January 6, and the actions they will have if passed:
  1. Restrict primary voting rights.
  2. Give county central committees full authority to select Republican candidates for any position.
  3. Create a penalty for elected officials to be summoned for actions taken and stripped of name Republican and banned for five years.
  4. Remove State GOP board positions for three groups: Idaho Republican Women, Idaho Young Republicans, Idaho College Republicans.

#3, above, is such an outrageous trigger they will vote it down as a “give back” to make the other hideous rules seem less nasty. (It’s a common negotiating tool. They think we are too dumb to notice this also.)

So let’s quickly look at the outcome of our recent elections: The KCRCC recommended a slate with many unknown names. Most were not good candidates but they have one essential quality: Obedience. Many of the chosen have only lived in Idaho a short while, most have never held any elected office, nor have they been involved in community issues. They must be obedient to the KCRCC and IFF to keep their positions. These candidates believe you will vote for them again if they are recommended by the power players.

That is where their loyalty lies, not with you, the voters.

What can you do to stop these new GOP rules? I’m told the rules will pass out of the committee because it has been packed with enough “obedient” people. But the rules will then go to a larger group of 240, which is made up of certain members of each county central committee and some statewide delegates as well. The list of 240 is a public document, but GOP leadership did not post it on the web site, so you have to contact your central committee and ask for names and contact information. Transparency much?

If you care about the future of the Republican Party in Idaho, you must take action now. We have been a strong red state, but the people taking control are ripping our party to shreds. If we don’t take action, we will be blue in a very short time.

My colleague, Senator Steve Thayn, said "Rules and regulations to force uniformity belong more to communism than to the Party of Lincoln.”

And as Mark Twain said, “It’s easier to fool a person than to convince them they’ve been fooled.” Let’s not be duped again.

Mary Souza, Republican, recently retired from the Idaho Senate after serving for eight years. You can contact her or sign up for her free newsletter at marysouzaunfiltered@gmail.com.

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Mike Weland, Publisher

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