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GOP convention gets rolling in Pocatello

June 29, 2018 GMT

POCATELLO — After two hours of debate Thursday ranging into the minutiae of state and county Republican Party rules, the committee charged with determining who can vote in the state convention finished its work with some controversy but little outright dissension.

The credentials committee has a history of starting fights within the GOP, particularly in 2014 when the convention ended in deadlock. This year there was wrangling, but nothing that appears poised to derail the convention.

Delegates on the further-right end of the ideological spectrum, who generally supported the efforts to unseat the delegates from District 34 — including Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg — and to unseat the alternates from Jefferson County, suffered losses on those fronts.

But in a more consequential move, the committee decided to seat only some of the delegates proposed by Ada County whose paperwork hadn’t been filed on time. The late paperwork, combined with the committee’s decision, leaves Ada County almost 30 votes short of its allotted total for the convention, according to committee chairman Ryan Davidson.

Among those not seated is state second vice-chairman Tyler Hurst, who took the news in stride.

“That will teach me to get my paperwork in on time,” he tweeted on learning of the news.

The first challenge was brought by freshman precinct committee officer Brent Satterthwaite of Bonneville County, who challenged District 34’s delegates. After much confusion about the reasons for his motion, it was quickly defeated. In the voice vote, Satterthwaite’s backers tried to make up in volume what they lacked in numbers, but the chairman said the outcome was clear.

The move to unseat Jefferson County’s alternates was brought by outgoing Rep. Karey Hanks, R-St. Anthony, who until January represents the county in the Idaho House. Her challenge was based on the fact that the outcomes of the alternate race, which was voted on using a points system, were recalculated after the initial winners were announced. The committee determined the vote counters had accidentally misapplied a formula for ranking the alternates and that the recount was simply an honest correction.

With the delegates seated, and only seven of Ada’s proposed delegates removed, the completion of the credentials committee’s work sets the stage for two days in which the party will consider adopting resolutions on state policy, electing leadership and modifying its platform.