Barry Peterson says he’s still Idaho's GOP chairman

The fractured party will meet Thursday night to plan its next moves.


Barry Peterson says he disagrees with the legal opinion offered to the Idaho GOP by attorney Jason Risch, who said the Idaho Republican Party offices are vacant after last weekend’s convention.

“I’m adopting the position that was tendered at the convention when the motion for adjournment was made,” Peterson told The Spokesman-Review.

The convention chairman, Congressman Raul Labrador, conferred with his parliamentarians and announced that the result of voting for adjournment would be that “the party officers and the party position as to the platform, etc., would be as they were constituted,” Peterson said. “Overwhelmingly, the vote was carried.”

Attorney Chris Troupis’ analysis concluded, counter to the opinion of Risch and a lawyer for Republican National Committee, that Peterson and other party officers remain in office. “No vacancy exists in the position of Idaho Republican Party chairman or other party officers at this time,” Troupis wrote. “Accordingly, Barry Peterson, having been duly elected, remains as chairman and the other party officers also remain in office.”

Peterson said he’s called a meeting of the Central Committee’s rules panel for Thursday at 7 p.m. in Room EW-42 at the Capitol to review the legal opinions and discuss what to do next. “They’ll be working on the problem, trying to find a resolve that seems appropriate and in harmony with the rules,” he said.

The party has received a formal petition calling for an emergency meeting of the Central Committee, which Risch’s legal analysis noted is the body charged with filling vacancies in officer positions. “I get 10 days to schedule the meeting, and have to schedule the meeting within 30 days of that 10 days — our rules allow for that,” Peterson said.

He said one touchy question is where the meeting will take place. Members have to participate in person, and the location could benefit those on one side or the other.

“I want to do the right thing for the right reason,” Peterson said. “And I don’t know what will happen.”

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