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“This is a mess,” says Bingham County and State GOP

BINGHAM COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) - An Idaho judge has blocked the Idaho Republican Party from holding a special meeting to elect a new chair of the Bingham County Republican Central Committee.

The court's preliminary injunction will be in place until the central committee's appeal with the Idaho Republican Party has run its full course.

The case revolves around a dispute over the state and Republican Party rules.

Bingham Republicans have said they made their appeal to then state GOP, but chairwoman Dorothy Moon ignored it.

In contrast, Idaho Republican Party lawyer Bryan Smith tells us all of this could have been avoided if the Bingham Republicans had filed their appeal properly.

"Obviously when they filed their appeal in September," Smith said. "They should have filed it with the chairman of the executive committee, and that's Chairwoman Moon. And because she didn't have it, she was not able to act on it until just shortly shortly before the complaint was filed."

 Bingham County Republicans claim Chairwoman Moon declared their election invalid and announced her intentions to hold her own election.

The Bingham County republicans said she cannot do that. 

Moon and the state GOP argue the Bingham County Republicans broke party rules.

"It's absolutely clear that Chairman Cravens resigned his position," Smith tells Local News 8.

"It's also absolutely clear under our rules that once a party chairman resigns, the positions vacant and the first vice chair has 30 days to hold a meeting, call a meeting, notice a meeting and preside over a meeting. That did not happen."

"The rules say that if he does not do that within 30 days...In fact, state law says that at that point it's the duty of the chairwoman to come to the county and organize only a vote for a new chairman," Smith concluded.

We asked the disputed Bingham County Republican Chairman Matt Thompson if he believed the Bingham republicans were at fault.

He said, "Well, there's the whole deal is kind of turned into a mess."

"We thought we did things right and we want the chance if we didn't do it right (and) to do it under our terms," said Thompson. "We don't want to be told how we're going to do it or have some kind of a sneaky deal going on in in our own county."

Chairman Thompson believes the judges' ruling was a victory for the local party.

"We wanted to slow things down and be able to to have a little control over how this deal progresses," Thompson said. "Bingham County ought to be in charge of its own Central committee and its own election. And if they want us to redo it, we'd like to be able to do that on our terms, not theirs."

But victory or not, Bryan Smith tells us the proceedings have been a colossal waste of time, which will likely still lead to a new election.

"The same people will be allowed to vote again," Smith said. "It's very likely they'll get the same outcome again. And it's very likely that this entire process will be, you know what some people might call a 'nothing burger'."

According to Smith, what's interesting about that order is that the judge doesn't comment on the merits of Bingham County's case. Which could affect whether or not the lawsuit moves forward.

The Idaho GOP is now filing a motion asking the judge to weigh in, and they're confident he'll be in their favor.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho Politics

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Seth Ratliff

Seth is a reporter for Local News 8.


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