Voters Kari Conser, Michelle Hagner, Charity Cockcroft, and Jane Pinkerton are friends from church who made a plan one week in advance to attend the first-of-its-kind Idaho GOP Caucuses together. Without knowing the others’ political leanings, they agreed the first Republican caucus in Idaho was a historical moment not to miss and it's an American duty as women to voice their opinions.
The one topic they settled as a group early on was: “We love Sarah Palin.” Though if Palin were running for president, they said they weren’t prepared to vote for her "hands down."
“Her policies would matter,” said Hagner. “Integrity matters and I think America needs more of it.”
Pinkerton said she really preferred Palin but was prepared to vote for either former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum or ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich Tuesday night. In fact, all four women agreed on either Santorum or Gingrich, in hoping that one would pick the other as vice president.
Another thing they had in common was the need to secure a Tuesday night babysitter. The women laughed when Pinkerton admitted, “We tried to find Democrats to babysit.” Cockcroft nodded and said, “Everyone we know is coming here tonight.”
Since babysitters were apparently in short supply, Cockcroft's and Hagner’s husbands watched the kids, but actively participated from home. Cockcroft’s husband is from South Africa but will be an American citizen by November. “He has lived here for years and is excited about voting in this election,” she said.
Hagner, who home-schools her three kids, said it was a rewarding process to evaluate the different candidates with her oldest son.
"We watch the news and decide as a family who to vote for,” Hagner said. “I will text my husband throughout the caucus because I’m representing him, too.”
All four women said they experienced a renewed interest in politics. When their church offered summaries of each candidate, the positions they supported, and individual campaign promises, attending the caucus changed from interesting to imperative.
"This is the first time Idaho has mattered,” said Hagner, who admited she didn’t vote regularly until lately.
Hagner said her change to be politically active happened, “When you start seeing your rights being taken away.”
They agreed that the issues that sat heaviest on their hearts were addressed best by Santorum.
“Less government, no more over-spending, and stopping Obamacare.” Pinkerton said, “If I have to live on a budget in my house, why shouldn’t the government?”