Idaho’s Republican party held its Convention in Nampa this past weekend, with 533 party delegates coming from all over the state. Bonneville County was well represented with 28 delegates. Our delegates worked hard, proposing platform changes that recognized American exceptionalism, the essential nature of the electoral college, and the need for a wall along the entire southern border of the United States. Our delegation also proposed a resolution reaffirming America’s unequivocal support for the state of Israel and its right to defend its sovereignty against terrorist attacks. We also proposed a rule change to better structure the financial relationship between the state party and the seven regions throughout the state. Each of the proposals submitted by Bonneville County was overwhelmingly accepted in the general session of the convention.

During the convention we were able to attend training sessions and hear speeches by Governor Little, Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin, and outgoing State Party Chairman Raul Labrador. We were pleased to include Lt. Governor McGeachin in our County delegation, along with newly elected Representative Marco Erickson and Representative Barb Ehardt. Throughout the convention Bonneville County hosted a vendor table, exchanging Trump items (including gold Trump commemorative coins) for donations. All of the donations from this fundraising event will be used to reimburse delegates for their travel expenses and hotel bills. This prevents any delegate from being excluded because of a lack of financial means to attend the event. We received lots of donation support from other delegates, who expressed the desire that their own county delegations support similar funding programs.

Bonneville County was well represented in the races for various elected offices, with Bryan Smith and Damond Watkins competing for national committeeman, and Mark Fuller being challenged by Tom Luna for state party chairman. Damond Watkins prevailed in his race by one vote, after the withdrawal of Steve Yates, and Mark Fuller lost by the slim margin of only 12 votes. Former Superintendent of Education Luna was much better known throughout the state than Fuller and received the endorsement of businessman Frank Vandersloot, who did not attend but sent numerous emails to the delegates throughout the convention in support of Luna. After the Chairman’s race outcome was announced, Fuller’s concession speech included full support for Luna in a genuine effort to unify the party in its support for President Trump. Fuller received a standing ovation at the conclusion of his remarks.

The nearly equal vote count in both the chairman and national committeeman races shows the continued division within the Republican Party but does not detract from its unity in support of President Donald J Trump. Delegates to the national convention during August in Jacksonville, Florida were also selected, including numerous delegates from Bonneville County. Bonneville County delegates and officers enjoy the respect and friendship of delegates and officers from throughout the state, and conservatives were well-represented at the biennial Convention.

Anthony Tirino
Second Vice Chair
Bonneville County Republican Party

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