BLACKFOOT, Idaho (KIFI) - A dispute over rules between Bingham County Republicans and the State GOP had its preliminary injunction in court Thursday.
The Bingham County Republican Central Committee is suing the state GOP's office for disqualifying its election for a new chairman.
In Thursday's preliminary injunction hearing lawyers for both sides met via Zoom to lay out the facts of the case.
The Bingham County Republicans claim State GOP Chairwoman Dorothy Moon declared their election invalid and announced her intentions to hold her own election.
The Bingham County Republicans say she can't do that.
They accused her of "bully tactics" and dealing with them in a deceptive manner.
Moon and the state GOP argued the Bingham County Republicans broke party rules in their election by allowing former chairman Dan Cravens to call and participate in the election.
In the hearing, the Bingham County Republican's attorney Greg Chaney argued that several Idaho codes have provisions for election of a new officer before their resignation is effective.
"Each body is the judge of its own elections," Chaney said.
Chaney accused Moon and the Idaho Republicans of ignoring the county GOP's appeal.
He said he believes Chairwoman Moon had multiple opportunities to honor their appeal before going to court.
Chaney said the Idaho GOP is trying to "rewrite history" by delaying their new election. "I do not believe that they have voluntarily walked away from their attempts," Chaney said.
In counterarguments, the state GOP's attorney, Bryan Smith said Idaho party rules were changed in July of this year, which require appeals to go to the Chairwoman.
He says the appeal wasn't sent to Chairwoman Moon, it was sent to the state GOP's first vice chair, Dan Silver.
"These guys waited until the very last minute, the last day to file their appeal," Smith said. "They gave it to the wrong person who followed the wrong rules...meanwhile they sat on their appeal and sent it to her at 3:20 pm, ninety minutes before the lawsuit was filed."
Smith believes the Bingham County Republicans turned the rules on their head by allowing Dan Cravens to call the election for his replacement.
"They had the existing outgoing chairman conduct the meeting," Smith said. He also called the meeting. The state party rules and the law say that the meeting must be called by somebody other than the chairman…the party rules envisioned that we don’t want an outgoing chairman picking his replacement. That's just not a fair process."
Judge Darren Simpson ruled he will take the arguments into consideration and make an official ruling before the end of next week.
However, earlier in the case Judge Simpson did say, “Quite frankly, I think the defendants(The Idaho GOP) are correct in their interpretation."