Reprinted January 18, 2016 Article By Ben Gregersen
A very troubling development is taking place in the Idaho Republican Party. Our Governor is apparently creating Otter Pac to buy influence from local RINO’s and smear their conservative opponent’s running for Precinct Committeeman. Butch Otter is clearly influence peddling which is wrong. Anyone who calls themselves a Conservative should be against this. Our Precinct Committeeman are supposed to be serving the American people from the bottom up, not from the top down. Precinct Committeeman aren’t elected to serve Butch Otter, they are elected to serve the American people. Butch Otter has no business getting involved in local neighborhood races. Why is Butch Otter doing this you ask? Could it be that he is trying to push Conservatives out of the Republican Party because they stood in his administrations way when they tried to water down the State Republican Party platform at the last GOP Convention? You see, at the last convention the Otter administration pushed to remove the family values and pro-life portions from our Party’s platform. But the conservative Precinct Committeemen united in opposition to the Governors proposed platform changes. I thought it was wonderful to see courageous conservatives standing together and telling our Governor no! A united conservative front fighting for the right things is something we need to see more often. I think it is also likely that the Governor wants to remove conservative Precinct Committeeman because Russ Fulcher nearly defeated him in the last republican primary. Governor Otter won a narrow victory last time. Could it be that Governor Otter is worried that the GOP establishment is losing their grip in Idaho? It is generally understood that Precinct Committeemen are the boots on the ground during these elections. They are the ones going door to door campaigning for the candidates they like. If you get rid of the most conservative Precinct Committeemen, you also do serious damage to Russ Fulcher’s ground game if he chooses to run again. Not only would this do tremendous damage to Russ Fulcher’s campaign, but it would also do tremendous damage to any conservative that seeks to run for public office in Idaho. There is a good reason why the Republican Party in Bonneville County and in Kootenai County are condemning Otter Pac. Both County Republican Party’s have strongly rejected Otter Pac. Bonneville County Republican Chairman Doyle Beck has openly condemned Otter Pac. “The governor should spend his time governing, what he’s hired to do. It’s got nothing to do with re-election. Therefore it becomes total cronyism. We don’t need that in Idaho. What other purpose or benefit would you get in the next three years with Gov. Otter in donating to his PAC, other than favors?” Beck said. “I think we have too much cronyism already, and this is just icing on the cake.” Beck also said, “This is a grassroots party, let the precinct committee, let the counties become the party. Not from the top down become the party, because you know as well as I know that if you put enough money in a precinct race, you’ll probably dominate that race.” Beck says Otter “has lost his way.” The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee passed a resolution calling on Otter to renounce these activities designed to influence elections of precinct committeemen. The Main Motion reads, in part: “Resolved. That the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee calls on Governor Otter, Idaho State Republican Party Chairman Steve Yates, and all state party officials to support party unity by suspending and renouncing any state wide activities designed to influence the elections of precinct committeemen.”
The structure of our government is intended to be run from the bottom up. This means that the precinct committee person is the closest elected official to the citizens. They are the first contact the people have, and most of them are very good at their job. They know the residents of their districts, they interact with them, and they are involved in many community organizations. To have the election process tainted in anyway is an injustice to the people of Idaho, and a Super Pac designed to do just that should be very unnerving to the people of Idaho. for further information about Kootenai County click this link.. (http://www.redoubtnews.com/idaho/push-back-on-otterpac-kootenai-passes-resolution/) If the leadership in the Bannock County Republican Central Committee had a spine, they would have joined the Bonneville County and Kootenai County GOP in publicly denouncing Otter Pac. It really is a shame that our Bannock County leaders consistently fail to do the right thing. I am proud of the Bonneville County and Kootenai County GOP. I solute them for taking a strong stand against Otter Pac. With Precinct Committeeman elections coming up soon. I just want to encourage the voters to pay close attention to who’s backing each campaign. If your precinct committeeman is being backed by Otter Pac, I strongly urge you to reconsider your vote for that individual, and throw your support behind their more conservative opponent. Ben Gregersen, of Pocatello, is a student at Idaho State University and is the acting chairman of the Bannock County Republican Liberty Caucus. He is also the host of “The Ben Gregersen Show,” which airs on Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. on Pocatello Channel 12.