Despite challenging political times, we have options to improve our representation

By Diana Dawson
Reader Contributor

This week a flier arrived from Scott Herndon called “Stop the Steal!” In it Democrats are accused of working to return “liberal Jim Woodward” to office, along with a list of inaccuracies about Woodward’s votes in office. In this one flier, Herndon falsified information about both the Democrats and Jim Woodward. 

This is the worst kind of political campaigning. It undermines free speech, confuses voters and corrupts the political process. We must stop this nonsense.

Many voters are so fed up with toxic politics they don’t vote. Lifelong Republicans are smeared and called RINOS. Unaffiliated voters who don’t want to belong to a party can’t vote unless they register with a partisan organization. Democrats are demonized for all the woes of the Republican Party, even though there are barely 3,000 of them in Legislative District 1. This is not a healthy political environment and it needs to be fixed. 

It starts with simple steps: vote informed, vote qualified and vote in the primary on Tuesday, May 21. 

In the 2022 primary, only 44% of Bonner County registered voters participated. We need to do better. Republican voters need to elect officials who serve with integrity, listen to our citizens and provide real solutions for our communities. Within our Republican Party, we need to remove leaders who are focused on personal agendas and ideology and replace them with leaders who have real conservative values that reflect the will of our party majority.

This year when you get your ballot, review the entire ballot and make sure you vote for precinct committeemen if your precinct has a contested race. The rules and core values of our Republican Party are fed from central committees that are composed of precinct committeemen. 

This might seem like an insignificant position but it isn’t. Central committees have power. When we lose elected officials between elections, it is the central committee that determines the replacement choices for that position. When former-Bonner County Assessor Grant Dorman resigned due to health issues, it was the Bonner County Republican Central Committee that provided the choices to the commissioners for his replacement. 

Republicans have a supermajority in Idaho and that should come with great responsibility. We bear the burden of good decision making. However, it seems our current BCRCC leadership and the leadership of the Idaho Republican State Central Committee do not have this regard. They have moved away from the wishes of the Republican majority. They disregard good decision making and the will of our voters by applying endorsements and censorship. 

Last summer, Republican leadership took extreme measures to remove three groups: Idaho Young Republicans, Idaho College Republicans and the Idaho Federation of Republican Women from voting membership in our party. Clearly these are decisions that do not serve the majority of our party and need serious evaluations. 

To do so, we need to elect qualified precinct committeemen to our central committees and get back to our core values.

As Republicans, we need to fix our own problems. Blaming the Democrats is a distraction. In fact, the only infiltration we have seen is from a far-right, self-proclaimed John Bircher, Bob Vickaryous, invading the Democratic ticket. He’s running against Kathryn Larson for the House 1B seat. Democrats have their own party issues and most don’t want or don’t have time to be bothered with Republicans.

And what about the unaffiliated voter who is forced to pick a party just to get to vote? The blame here goes to a closed primary. Idaho went to this process in 2012, which has displeased many Idaho voters. Currently there is a ballot initiative in process to end the closed primary and replace it with an open primary process. If enough signatures are validated, then this will be on the ballot in November. To learn more, go to

We are in challenging political times, but we do have options to improve. An informed vote in the May 21 primary is the best start. Elect the most qualified candidates with the best leadership skills. It’s our best defense to protect our communities. 

Beyond voting, stop the smears. It’s destructive and undermines our institutions and destroys communities. Finally, take time to read about the Open Primaries Initiative and, if you have time, get involved with your party. 

Let’s end political dysfunction and elect qualified candidates who serve Idaho citizens.

Diana Dawson founded the nonprofit North Idaho Voter Services in 2019, which conducts research on North Idaho voters’ preferences and communicates those findings through reports, candidate profiles and endorsements. To learn more about NIVS, go to

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