Some Idaho Republicans want candidates to obtain GOP committee endorsement to run for office

Idaho Republican Party committee will vote on proposed party rule change Friday

By: - January 6, 2022 6:29 pm

Polls are open for in-person voting from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time across Idaho. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

The Idaho Republican Party will consider a change to its rules and a supporting resolution Friday and Saturday that would require any candidate seeking a statewide, legislative or county level position to first obtain the endorsement of the Republican central committee in order to be placed on a primary election ballot.

Jake Miller, communications director for the Idaho Republican Party, said the proposed rule change was passed by the Bonneville Republican Central Committee in November, and the Rules Committee will vote on the proposed change at Friday’s winter meeting in Boise. If it passes that committee, the full Idaho Republican State Central Committee will vote on the change at Saturday’s meeting. 

The proposal was submitted by Mark Fuller, Bonneville County Republican Central Committee chairman; Doyle Beck, State Committeeman; Lisa Keller, Legislative District 30 Chairwoman; Myleah Keller, Bonneville County State Youth Committee Person; Linn Hawkins, Bonneville County State Committee Woman; and Bryan Zollinger, Legislative District Committee 33 Chairman. 

If the members pass the rule, Miller said it would need accompanying legislation to pass the Idaho Legislature.

“A lot of times when it’s election law, sometimes the election law refers to the party rules, and the Legislature will say, ‘Well, we’ll change the election law if you change the party rules first,’” Miller said.

The change would apply to any candidate seeking the following offices:

  • Governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer, superintendent of public instruction, or state controller
  • U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives
  • County commissioner, clerk, auditor, sheriff, county treasurer, coroner or assessor

For state offices, including congressional seats, the candidate would need the endorsement of the full Republican State Central Committee, while legislative candidates would need approval from the Republican legislative district committee in which they reside. For county candidates, the county’s Republican central committee would have final say.

GOP Primary Change Resolution Language


The potential candidates would be put through multiple rounds of voting through the respective committees until two candidates remained. If either candidate received 60% of votes, they would receive a place on the ballot. If neither candidate received 60%, both would be placed on the ballot.

Miller said it’s unclear which way the vote on the proposed rule could go.

“I’ve heard some folks on both sides, I’m not sure what’s going to happen,” he said.

In a press release on Thursday, Idaho GOP chairman Tom Luna said there has been some confusion about the proposed changes.

“The issue at hand is that many people are assuming that the rule has passed when it has not,” Luna said in the release. “Furthermore, some people are speculating on who is supporting this rule and why they are proposing this change. I encourage all interested parties to contact the actual sponsors of the rule to clarify the intention of their proposed rule change.”

Friday’s meeting will take place at the Boise Centre. The morning meeting will be an executive session, but the Rules Committee meeting will begin at 1 p.m.

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Kelcie Moseley-Morris
Kelcie Moseley-Morris

Kelcie Moseley-Morris is an award-winning journalist who has covered many topics across Idaho since 2011. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Idaho and a master’s degree in public administration from Boise State University. Moseley-Morris started her journalism career at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, followed by the Lewiston Tribune and the Idaho Press.