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Idaho’s future in District 3

Today’s regional must-read is in the Spokane Spokesman Review, a piece by Betsy Russell about a north Idaho legislative district.

It’s more pertinent than it first sounds. District 3 has elected what probably is the farthest right – the most anti-tax, anti-federal, etc. – legislative delegation in the state, which is saying something. The veteran legislator there is Representative Phil Hart, R-Hayden, well-known statewide for his disputes with the state over paying taxes, among other things. He was joined in the last election by two other Republicans of very similar ideological persuasion, Representative Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, and Senator Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens.

The point is, if the organizational and election efforts to drive the Idaho Republican Party further to the right are successful, District 3 and its delegation very much represent what may be Idaho’s governmental future. You could hardly pick a better case study.

The whole thing is worth the read. Particularly striking, of immediate statewide import, was this observation:

“When Hart first ran for the state Legislature in 2002, he ran on the Constitution Party ticket and lost with only 32 percent of the vote. But two years later, he beat the late Rep. Wayne Meyer of Rathdrum in a low-turnout GOP primary, targeting Meyer for not voting a hard line against abortion, and sailed to victory in the general election. It’s a move increasingly seen around the state, as third-party members shift to working within the GOP. Former Libertarian Party Chairman Ryan Davidson of Boise, for example, is now a vice chairman of the Ada County Republican Party. “I really like to consider myself a Ron Paul Republican,” Davidson said. “I just decided that the third-party movement wasn’t really going anywhere, and that maybe if we tried to reform the two major parties we’d have a better chance.””

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