BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A former GOP state lawmaker has launched a new political action committee to encourage Independent and Democratic voters to register as Republicans so they can participate in Idaho's closed GOP primary election.
Kathy Skippen said Wednesday that her group - called Moderates Are Taking Hold - will help educate Independent and Democratic voters on the importance of casting a vote in the GOP primary because Republican candidates rarely face competitive opponents in the general election.
The Idaho Republican Party responded Thursday. Chairman Jonathan Parker said he is disturbed that a former GOP state lawmaker would form a PAC to encourage this. Parker said federal court has reaffirmed the Idaho Republican Party's decision to close the GOP primary. He welcomes anyone to affiliate as a Republican, as long as they believe in limited government, lower taxes, and additional freedoms.
As for the Democratic reaction? KIDK Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz talked with Miranda Marquit to see how the Democrats feel about this PAC and it's goals. Marquit is the chair for the Bonneville County Democratic Party.
"Yeah, we certainly don't endorse going out there and changing your registration just for the sake of voting in a primary. We know it's going to happen, but we would prefer it not to. And instead, we should be having more people running for office from all political persuasions and having a better marketplace of ideas and having more people out there talking about what they would like to see and less focus on this Republican versus Democrat thing," said Marquit.
Idaho closed the state's GOP primary nearly five years ago, so that only registered party members can participate. While the move did not result in a steep drop in voter turnout, critics argue it has forced candidates to woo the state's strongest conservatives and ignore moderates.