Capitol & State

New GOP chairman hopeful emerges, Fox News regular and former Cheney aide

Steve Yates, who came within 108 votes of unseating three-term Idaho Falls Rep. Jeff Thompson in the May primary, announced his candidacy for Idaho Republican chairman on Wednesday.

Yates, 45, was a deputy assistant for national security to Vice President Dick Cheney, from 2001-2005.

He's also worked as a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation and an analyst at the Department of Defense. Fluent in Mandarin, Yates has a master's in China studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and regularly appears as a guest on Fox News.

"I have spent most of my professional life working with people that may disagree on some issues, but find they agree on other issues," Yates said in a news release. "My goal in all this is to keep the Idaho Republican Party a strong and important part of the political landscape."

He moved his family and consulting business to Idaho Falls in 2011 and said he's been urged to make the race to bring an end to months of turmoil over who will lead the party apparatus in this election year with all seven constitutional offices, three of four congressional seats and all 105 legislative seats at stake.

The GOP convention adjourned last month without doing its biennial duty of electing officers. Chairman Barry Peterson, who was challenged by Mike Duff of Blackfoot and Doug Sayer of Pocatello, insists he remains chairman.

Republicans loyal to Gov. Butch Otter, however, say Peterson's term expired in June. They have scheduled an Aug. 2 State Central Committee meeting at the Red Lion Downtowner in Boise to elect officers. Peterson is suing to block that meeting.

Peterson has set an Aug. 9 meeting at the Capitol, at 1:30 p.m., in the Lincoln Auditorium. (Earlier, I wrote that Peterson hadn't chosen a time and place; actually, he did so in an email to Central Committee members last week).

Fifth District Judge Randy Stoker has scheduled a hearing on Peterson's lawsuit in Twin Falls at 8:30 a.m., July 29.

Yates, who won 49 percent of the vote against Thompson, is agnostic on the question of the dueling meetings.

"Steve will be waiting to see when the meeting is called and will attend whenever that is," said former Sen. Ann Rydalch, R-Idaho Falls, who is helping Yates. "Right now he wanted everyone to know he is a candidate."

Yates' news release follows:

STEVE YATES, CANDIDATE FOR STATE REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN

IDAHO FALLS, ID – Today, Idaho Falls Businessman Steve Yates announced that he will be a candidate for Idaho Republican Party Chairman.

“After receiving several calls urging me to be a candidate for this position, I have decided to do so,” Yates stated. “I have spent most of my professional life working with people that may disagree on some issues, but find they agree on other issues. My goal in all of this is to keep the Idaho Republican Party a strong and important part of the political landscape.”

Yates identified three priority themes that will serve as his guide as candidate and chairman: focus forward, linking grassroots and governance, and “coming home.” Initiatives associated with each will aim to activate registered Republicans, strengthen our candidates, and build our party.

Steve Yates has spent 24 years working public policy issues at the Federal level. From 2001 to 2005 he served as Deputy Assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney for National Security affairs. He started his own small business in 2006, D.C. International Advisory, and moved his family and company to Idaho Falls in 2011. He has since expanded his small business to include CoverEDGE by opening a live shot television studio in Idaho Falls with plans to expand to Boise and Jackson, Wyoming. He is a regular analyst on the Fox News Channel, The Dana Show, The John Batchelor Show, The Blaze TV and The Blaze Radio, in addition to Idaho television and radio programs.

“During my early college years at BYU, I became acquainted with Idaho Falls as my classmates invited me to their homes during school breaks. With two brothers attending Ricks College and staying in the area, we visited often over the years. I knew I wanted to come home to Idaho Falls someday, continue my business, and raise my family in the traditional values that I had found here in Idaho during my college years,” Yates stated.

Steve is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and has a Master’s Degree in China Studies from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He is an analyst, commentator and advisor on US politics, policy and international affairs. He previously served as senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation and an analyst at the Department of Defense. He has also been a senior advisor to presidential campaigns.

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