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“The state GOP doesn’t have clean hands in this” says Dan Cravens – Bingham County Republicans react to court ruling

BINGHAM COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) - The legal back and forth between the Bingham County Republican Central Committee and the Idaho GOP is costing thousands of dollars, and costs could continue.

On Sunday, the Bingham County Republicans acknowledged their election was invalid. That comes after Judge Darren Simpson's ruling on Friday.

The decision comes after a months long battle between the Bingham County Republicans and the State GOP.

It all started after an Bingham County Republican Central Committee election last July to fill then-chairman Dan Craven's seat after he resigned. Matt Thompson was elected to fill the position.

However, the Idaho State Republican Party deemed the election invalid, as the seat was not technically not vacant at the time of the election - which meant the election broke the party's bylaws.

According to Ben Fuhriman, spokesman for the Bingham County Republican Central Committee, the election ruling was only a piece of the puzzle.

Furhiman wrote Simpson's decision also "demonstrates that Dorothy Moon and the Idaho GOP acted in bad faith in its dealings with the BCRCC," which he also claims is the larger issue.

"Whether we have the election correct or whether we didn't have the election correct," Fuhriman said. "...we never once got any bit of communication from them one way or the other. A phone call would have would have solved everything. But we never got that. On September 5th, we finally got her [Dorothy Moon's] ruling that we had done everything wrong and she had to come and redo it. So by that point, we had no time to fix it ourselves where we could have if we had just had a phone call."

Fuhriman continued, "May 21st will be a new primary election where all the Bingham County Precinct
Committeeman will be elected and the executive committee will once again be reorganized, all
without the interference of Dorothy Moon. We call that a victory."

However, according to Bryan Smith, the attorney representing the state GOP, what Fuhriman suggests would also break the state party's rules.

"State law says that only the incumbent chairman of the county can [give] notice and preside over that meeting," Smith said.

"They can't notice that meeting - they don't have an incumbent chairman, therefore they're not able to give notice of a reorganization meeting in May. Therefore, they cannot elect new officers, and they must have Dorothy come down and reorganize the chairman first, because they don't have a chairman."

I was also able to get in touch with the man behind initial the election, former chairman Dan Cravens. He said the situation has been blown out of proportion.

"The state GOP doesn't have clean hands in this...especially dealing with the state party it's become very, very contentious," Cravens said.

"Not just in Bingham County, but in other counties and there still is a high level of distrust between a lot of county central committees. From what I hear, where, you know, there's fear, the state chair will come in and try to reorganize their party to get folks that are very much more favorable to her point of view."

According to Cravens, there has always been a fight between what he calls Reagan or traditional Republicans and the more Libertarian wing of the party.

It seems that fight may have cost Republicans thousands of dollars.

Ben Fuhriman of the Bingham County Republicans tells us they voted 18-3 to send $10,000 as a retainer for their legal bills with this case. He says other members may have also sent private donations.

And that's just their down payment.

According to attorney Bryan Smith, both sides have spent tens of thousands of dollars in privately raised funds on legal fees.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho Politics

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Seth Ratliff

Seth is a reporter for Local News 8.


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