Monday, August 18, 2014

Bonneville County GOP Picnic: Hamburgers, Hot Dogs and Hassles

Posted By on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 8:58 AM

Awkward.

At a Thursday, Aug. 28, barbecue fundraiser, Bonneville County Republicans are expected to honor GOP Congressman Mike Simpson as "Outstanding Republican Elected Official of the Year." But the event's keynote speaker will be Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of Freedom Works, which tagged Simpson in 2013 as being "on the wrong side of all major fiscal issues" and siding "with the "Washington establishment class."

In fact, the chairman of GOP Region 7, Bryan Smith, who is also overseeing the event, lost to Simpson earlier this year in a rather nasty GOP primary.

The Idaho Post Register reports that some GOP party veterans are angry over Smith's decision to bring in Kibbe to commandeer the microphone rather than letting locally elected Republicans speak at the fundraiser.

"Bryan is just trying to walk all over us and is succeeding," said Marsha Bjornn, former Region 7 chairwoman. "We are all kind of caught off-guard."

But Smith said he's in charge now and, "We don't have to continue to do things like we've always done just because this is the way things have always been done."

One more note that should cause a bit of a chill at the event: Kibbe's Freedom Works contributed heavily to Smith's attempt to oust Simpson.

"People want to hear our candidates," said Bjornn. "They don't want to pay money to hear a tea partier from Washington, D.C., speak."

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