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For the last two years, the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee has spent tens of thousands of dollars to deliver a list of recommended candidates to the doorsteps, newspapers and social media accounts of Kootenai County’s 103,000+ voters.

Here is the problem: That mailer you receive has been known to unapologetically contain the names of wholly unqualified and, at times, nefarious individuals in hopes that you wouldn’t question the recommendations of the KCRCC and vote their recommendations down ballot.

This week, KCRCC Chairperson Brent Regan sent an e-mail out to the Central Committee regarding endorsements. He later posted the email on Facebook. The note states:

“When our committee arrives at a decision by voting, the will of the majority becomes the will of the entire committee.” He continues, “It does not matter if you agree with the decision or not, when you are operating in your official capacity as a precinct committeeman you are bound by the decision of the committee.”

When the central committee supports unqualified, nefarious individuals who appear on their mailer and on your ballot, the KCRCC sullies the good names of local Republicans.

Consider the following examples.

Alex Barron served as the secretary of the KCRCC. The KCRCC gave Alex a platform for his 2020 Idaho Senate race for Legislative District 3. Barron was cited for domestic battery in 2018 and is currently facing charges of rape and child sexual abuse. But as the chairperson said, “It does not matter if you agree with the decision or not,” and the KCRCC extended support.

Not convinced? Consider Dave Reilly.

The KCRCC endorsed Dave Reilly in the 2021 Post Falls School Board race. Reilly received national condemnation for attending the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., for posting vile anti-Semitic social media posts, and even stating on his Twitter account that giving women voting rights was “a mistake.”

With the most basic of research, all of this information was available to the committee. But as the KCRCC chairperson says, “It does not matter if you agree with the decision or not,” and the KCRCC extended support.

The next candidate, supported by the KCRCC, is freshly out of federal prison! John Green, charged with tax evasion and defrauding the United States in 2018 and convicted in 2021, continues to be embraced by local Republicans, accepting an invitation to speak at the Panhandle Pachyderms meeting within the last year. The cozy relationship continues because “it does not matter if you agree with the decision or not,” the chairperson has so deemed support is extended.

One more for good measure? Michael Barnes it is!

Barnes, who recently resigned from the NIC Board of Trustees, was given full support from the KCRCC only to get elected and leave the state. While he was RV-ing away from Idaho, he was on a board that dictates the taxes that YOU have to pay — taxes for thee, not for me?

While the KCRCC chairperson asked for Barnes’ resignation from the central committee as a precinct captain, he defended Barnes’ right to maintain his seat on a taxing district board. But as the chairperson says, “It does not matter if you agree with the decision or not” so he defended the disgraced politician, even after evidence of Barnes’ departure was irrefutable.

Perhaps the worst part of it all: When given the opportunity to rescind embarrassing endorsements, the KCRCC will insist that Republicans stand in lock step behind the questionable candidates.

A sign of intelligence is the ability to reconsider a stance when new information is presented. Unfortunately, there are no signs that Regan, and by extension, the KCRCC can reconsider a stance when new information is presented.

I’m grateful for the Republicans in my life. I appreciate their thoughtful curiosity, their principled conversations, and their sincere dedication to preserving the best parts of our incredible state. The actions of the KCRCC look nothing like the Republicans I know and love.

Kootenai County voters: Will you continue to move in lock step with poor character or will you identify the candidates that will help guide our community toward responsible accountability and stop the groupthink that permeates the KCRCC? Perhaps start by tossing out the KCRCC mailer when it lands on your doorstep.

by Teresa Borrenpohl

Guest Opinion – CDA/POST FALLS PRESS

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