By Tony McDermott
Having read on the front page of the Bonner County Daily Bee (April 24) that the Bonner County Republican Central Committee, chaired by Sen. Scott Herndon, awarded a no-confidence vote for District 1 Rep. Mark Sauter — along with the April 29 Coeur d’Alene Press op-ed alleging our same senator paid out-of-state McShane LLC $80,000 to attack fellow Republicans in the last election cycle — I feel compelled to respond.
[Editor’s note: For much more on those stories, see “Current, former District 1 officials respond to BCRCC ‘no-confidence’ vote on Sauter,” April 27, 2023; and “Big-money Nevada consultants play part in Herndon Senate campaign,” March 24, 2022, at sandpointreader.com.]
As a conservative Republican, appointed to two terms as an Idaho Fish and Game commissioner for the panhandle, a member of the governor’s wolf control board and preceded by many years of military service, I have witnessed the good, bad and ugly in politics. I resigned from this group as a precinct chair along with a half-dozen others on the same night due to their divisive, uncompromising political views.
According to Herndon, Mark Sauter, former-Dist. 1 Sen. Jim Woodward and numerous other solid Republicans who do not fall in line with Herndon’s “my-way-or-the-highway” are labeled as RINOS, not fit to be in the Republican Party. The BCRCC under Herndon’s leadership has disintegrated into a cesspool of toxic leadership.
With this current group, ethical standards and values have been replaced by “anything goes to win.” In the last primary, he conducted a scorched-earth campaign of lies, distortion and name calling against his opponent. His method of operation continues against those with whom he disagrees, funded by multiple sources outside the district and some external to the state of Idaho.
The sad part of all of this is that his approach to politics worked, because 50% of the registered Republican voters in Bonner and Boundary counties failed to vote in the primary.
Let me make it crystal clear about what Herndon and his gang are up to: They are upset that Rep. Sauter has not towed the line according to the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s principles and voted accordingly. That would be to go along with Herndon’s attempt to make abortion so extreme a mother’s life is no longer valued, which resulted in hospital OBGYN departments closing and doctors leaving the state. This, along with proposed legislation for criminal prosecutions for those performing abortion.
Additionally, he worked to defund public education, and put control of libraries in the hands of his style of government. The sick part is that he has convinced BCRCC membership to go along with his extreme proposals. It is the BCRCC that should be censured, and not Rep. Sauter.
This corrupt politician, Herndon — who has a closet full of skeletons — needs to be defeated in the next election. I will do my best to make this happen and request the help of the voting public in Legislative District 1.
Tony McDermott is a conservative Republican, served two appointed terms as an Idaho Fish and Game commissioner for the panhandle area, as a member of the governor’s wolf control board and is a military veteran.
Editor’s note: This article was updated May 8 to correct a misidentification of Mr. McDermott as a member of the Reader staff. He is an unsolicited contributor.
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