May 17, 2022, was a bad day for some and a great day for others. People like Tracey Wasden saw their power slip. Not only was her husband, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden (Idaho’s Attorney General of 20 years), defeated 52% to 38% by Raúl Labrador, but many of her friends also lost their legislative races. On top of those races, her establishment friends who had historical control over the Canyon County Republican Central Committee (CCRCC) overwhelmingly lost their precinct committeeman races. To see all that power leave at once, can’t be the best feeling in the world. That may be why she decided to go on offense.
In July of 2022, Tracey stood in front of the credentials committee of the Idaho GOP Convention in Twin Falls, shoulder to shoulder with a few of her friends, to try and have her own county’s delegates completely removed. She cited an improper vote on delegates since the newly elected CCRCC had issues with approved delegates once the final tally was counted. The CCRCC promptly called an emergency meeting to fix the issue with the approval of the state party and followed their direction. However, Tracey wasn’t happy with that and decided to try and stop every single one of her own county’s delegates from having a vote. Thankfully, the credentials committee did not take her very seriously and voted to approve Canyon County’s delegates.
Tracey is now making the accusation that the Idaho GOP is trying to silence women and the youth. She blames the current “leadership,” which obviously translates to infer the Idaho GOP Chairwoman, Dorothy Moon. This lie is so easy to debunk. A proposed rule change (2023-7 Amending Article II Section 2) has been brought forth by a specific person (Linda Yergler) and approved by her county central committee (Shoshone County) who in turn proposed it to the Idaho GOP Rules Committee at the most recent IDGOP State Central Committee in January 2023. It did not come from Dorothy Moon. Secondly, only going back a few years, this rule change has been proposed multiple times in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. Last I checked, Dorothy Moon was not the Chair during those years. For those of you just tuning in, Dorothy Moon (a woman) was elected to the position of Idaho GOP chair in July of 2022.
Let’s look at Tracey’s claims and see if it is possible that both women and the youth are being silenced.
To do this, I want to give a brief overview of the way each County Central Committee within Idaho is set up. First, precinct committeemen (PCs) are elected by the Republican voters in the Primary. Then, each PC is allowed to vote for positions within their designated County Central Committee: Chair, Vice-chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Youth Committeeman (yes… a ‘youth’ committeeman), State Committeewoman (yes… a ‘woman’), and State Committeeman. By the way, each of the above positions, except State Committeeman, can be filled by a woman. Also, each of the above positions can be filled by someone between the ages of 18-40 which is the “youth” that Tracey and others say the Idaho GOP is trying to silence.
Then, each Legislative District gets to vote for its own leadership. The leadership can also consist of women and people between the ages of 18-40. Then, Region Chairs (Idaho has 7 regions currently) are elected by PCs that reside in each region. Region chairs can also consist of women and people between the ages of 18-40. All these leadership positions are elected by PCs. And PCs are elected by the voters.
This brings me to the three organizations in question in the proposed rule change. The Idaho Federation of Republican Women (Tracey Wasden is the President), the Idaho Young Republicans (Ryan Finney, age 36 is the President), and the Idaho Federation of College Republicans (Farhana Hibbert, age 51 is the President). None of these leaders were elected by the PCs. Granted, there are many PCs that belong to these organizations. But there is no requirement that you are an elected PC to vote within these clubs. In fact, in some cases, you don’t even need to prove you are a Republican to join these clubs. In 2019, a lawsuit was filed against the Bonneville County Republican Women, a charter of the Idaho Federation of Republican Women, for allowing the head of the Democrat Party a vote within their club’s organization while also preventing several Republican members from having a vote. This is just one example that has been exposed.
During the last general election, several “Republican” women from the Canyon County charter openly supported a Democrat for the Attorney General race to try to force the loss of Raúl Labrador, the guy who beat out Tracey’s husband, Lawrence Wasden, in the primary.
Most recently, the Idaho Young Republicans held their convention (in a very unconventional way, half on Zoom and half in person) and they voted for new leadership. It has been reported that people who weren’t even members of the club were given a vote via Zoom. Other long-standing members of the IYR were prevented from voting over minor technicalities, such as using a married name instead of the maiden name they originally signed up as members with.
The Idaho Federation of College Republicans don’t appear to even be active (other than showing up to cast their vote at the Idaho GOP meetings), nor have they had any meetings for quite a while prior to this new rule change. Idaho College Republicans President Farhana Hibbert does appear to be active in her ISU chapter, but the statewide Idaho Federation of College Republicans club, which you would think encompasses other CR charters at the University of Idaho and Boise State as well as ISU, does not appear to have any past or future published meetings, minutes, or elections. We were unable to find out whether Farhana was elected or appointed President of CR, when or if an election was actually held, and if minutes to that meeting exist. Recently when she was questioned about it at the IFRW Red Jackets days, Tracey Wasden interrupted and ended the question/answer time.
The proposed rule change (2023-7) would move these three club members to ex-officio members of the executive committee, allowing them to keep their voice at the Idaho GOP table, but removing their vote from the executive committee. There is no reason why clubs, that aren’t elected by Republican voters, should have a vote within the executive committee of the Idaho GOP, equal to the vote of the Chair, the Treasurer, the Region chairs, or the others who are elected by the people.
The bottom line is that Tracey Wasden is using identity politics and emotions to protect what little power she retains. I get it, it would probably stink to have everything change in one single day. But the reality is, removing these three clubs from having a vote within the Idaho GOP executive committee is long overdue.