IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Idaho Republicans are looking for a way to unite the party after some GOP leaders voted against a proposal to vet candidates before they appear on the ballot.
Doyle Beck, chairman of the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee, expressed some concern after he returned from the Republicans' summer meeting this weekend in McCall. He said everyone in the party needs to stick to the same platform in order to be successful.
"We have an influx of Democratic influence trying to get into our party at all times," Beck said, urging his fellow Republicans to do something about keeping its political platform consistent with its leadership. "(Other parties) don't need to come over and try to contaminate ours."
Idaho's top Republicans, including Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, felt vetting GOP candidates before they run for office gave voters less to vote on. Beck called that notion "nonsense."
"We want to do things to attract voters," Beck said. "If we don't attract them, we're not successful."
The idea to vet candidates was ultimately voted down.
Still, it raises the question: Are members of other parties interested in posing as Republicans?
"I don't know if there's any evidence of Democrats infiltrating the GOP," said Larry Larson, a former legislative candidate who ran as a Democrat and lost. "You would think that the label often does align you with a party platform, so you need to be honest."
Even though he doesn't agree with switching parties, Larson understands why a Democrat or Independent would want to run under the majority party's ticket to attract votes. What Larson doesn't understand is why a political party shouldn't be diverse in the first place.
"I think a party is more likely to come to principles or positions that are beneficial to the majority of people in the community if they have a diversity of people in the party," Larson said.
During the meeting in McCall, Republicans did vote against opening the primary election. Beck said that's a step in the right direction.