Attendees of this weekend's Idaho Republican Party Convention voted to send all of its 32 delegates to this summer's national GOP convention to name Mitt Romney as their party's standard-bearer. The delegates are bound to support Romney during the first round of balloting during the Tampa Bay convention, which gets under way Monday, Aug. 27.
Additionally, Idaho Republicans elected 64-year-old Barry Peterson, a Mountain Home hardware store owner, to be the Gem State's new GOP chairman. Peterson replaced two-term chairman Norm Semanko, who opted to step down this year after being elected in 2008 and 2010.
"Idaho stands as the reddest of the red states," said Semanko in his farewell address. "In the past four years, we have raised in excess of $2.1. million to help our statewide and legislative campaigns."
Delegates offered a laundry list of issues as proposed planks for the state party's platform, including support for schools chief Tom Luna's Students Come First reforms, abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency, and backing currency with gold or silver. Delegates chose not to repeal the GOP's closed primary system, requiring registration in the Republican Party before being given a GOP ballot. Instead, delegates said they would "study the issue" for future consideration. Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Secretary of State Ben Ysursa were among a group of Republicans who favored re-opening the primary.
"A wave of conservative values is sweeping the nation," said Rusty Satterwhite, the convention's planning committee chairman. "And after this November's election, the rest of the nation is going to turn to Idaho to re-teach them on what it takes to be an American."