After two challengers announced campaigns to replace him this week, Idaho GOP Chairman Barry Peterson closed the work week affirming that he's still the boss.
In an email Friday morning, Peterson reminded fellow Republicans that the party's Rules Committee held a special meeting to clarify party leadership after the state convention adjourned June 14 without electing officers.
"It was confirmed that the Convention Delegates chose to retain the current party officers for an additional two year term until the next convention," Peterson wrote of the June 19 meeting.
Peterson said the State Republican Central Committee will decide the matter Aug. 9, a date Peterson chose. The Central Committee will review Rules Committee findings and "the Idaho Republican Party will have resolved all pending issues as related to the status of party leadership," Peterson assured recipients of his email.
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Other Republicans, however, say the absence of a convention vote means Peterson's term has expired. Twenty members of the State Republican Central Committee petitioned for an Aug. 2 meeting, a request granted by Vice Chairman Mike Mathews of Twin Falls. It is there, Peterson's opponents say, that a chairman will be elected to serve until 2016.
The Republican National Committee's general counsel says Peterson is no longer chairman. and supports the Aug. 2 meeting. The RNC's summer meeting is Aug. 6-9 in Chicago and the RNC has said Peterson will be ineligible to attend — unless he is elected at the Aug. 2 meeting.
On July 17, Peterson and five other GOP officials sued to block the Aug. 2 meeting. The first hearing in that case is at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday before 5th District Judge Randy Stoker in Twin Falls.
This week, two candidates announced they'll ask the Central Committee to elect them chairman, Steve Yates of Idaho Falls and Doug Pickett of Oakley. Yates is neutral on whether the Aug. 2 or Aug. 9 meeting should govern; Pickett favors the Aug. 2 date.
It's not clear whether candidates who campaigned to replace Peterson at the convention — Mike Duff of Blackfoot and Doug Sayer of Pocatello — will run again.
Peterson's full email follows:
Idaho Republican Party August 9, 2014 State Central Committee Meeting to Resolve Party Status of Party Leadership
From Chairman Barry Peterson
On June 16, 2014, it seemed important to me to convene the Rules Committee (meeting held on June 19, 2014) for the purpose of safeguarding the rights of all the delegates who attended the State Convention, preserving the integrity of the Party and confirming the action resultant from the adjournment.
At this meeting on June 19, 2014, all members of the Rules Committee from the seven regions of the state were in attendance. Two important determinations were established at that time:
1. After review of events at the close of the State Convention on June 14, 2014, It was confirmed that the Convention Delegates chose to retain the current party officers for an additional two year term until the next convention.
2. It was also determined that the meeting of eight State Executive Committee members, held on June 18, 2014, was not duly called nor was it a legitimate State Executive meeting of the Idaho Republican Party. Thus, any actions or decisions from that meeting are null and void.
I received a petition June 16, 2014, from more that 15 State Committee Members, representing five or more counties, requesting a special State Central Committee meeting. As per conditions of Party Rules, I issued a call on June 23, 2014 for a special meeting of the Republican State Central Committee to be held on August 9, 2014. This meeting will be at the Statehouse in Boise at 1:30 p.m. in the Lincoln Room.
At that time, the Central Committee will be provided the findings and resolutions passed by the Idaho Republican Party Standing Rules Committee from the afore mentioned meeting held June 19, 2014. Based upon the outcome of the Central Committee Meeting on August 9, 2014, the Idaho Republican Party will have resolved all pending issues as related to the status of party leadership.