CAMERON: Ahlquist fails GOP committee loyalty test

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There’s a phrase in sports that records are made to be broken.

When you wade into the arena of local politics, however, there seems to be a useful addition to that old line.

If you follow along with the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee songbook, it turns out rules also are made to be broken.

Or amended.

Or tweaked.

Or, well …

Whatever it takes to do the job.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, for instance, the committee unanimously passed a resolution that basically dropped the hammer on gubernatorial candidate Tommy Ahlquist.

Now if you’ve asked about the KCRCC’s very own rules recently, you would have been told the group does not ever, ever interfere with a Republican primary election.

No endorsements, no campaigning, no door-knocking.

Officers and members have insisted repeatedly that the committee only springs into action for general elections — when precinct captains lead a charge to get Republican candidates elected.

Not exactly a huge challenge, granted, but that’s their rule.

UNTIL it isn’t.

The resolution that essentially cast Ahlquist into electoral oblivion — at least among Kootenai County conservatives — was pretty simple.

It demanded that Ahlquist explain why he donated money to some Democratic candidates over the past few years.

Even worse, a couple of those Democrats were pro-choice, which is an absolute, cast-iron deal breaker for the super-conservative KCRCC.

Ahlquist himself is very much pro-life, but still …

“Giving money to Democrats is really the cardinal sin,” said longtime committee member Duane Rasmussen.

But what about that pesky rule about staying clear in primary elections?

“It wasn’t an endorsement or anything like that,” insisted Don Bradway, who uncharacteristically opened the discussion by fiddling with semantics.

“It was simply a statement of facts. We pointed out who Ahlquist gave money to, and what those people believe. They want to allow abortion — which is murder, pure and simple.

“So the question that came from these facts was very clear: Is Ahlquist really a Republican?”

THERE’S a bit of irony concerning this notion of throwing Ahlquist into the political ditch because of past associations.

Republican icon Ronald Reagan was not only a Democrat at one time, he was an activist and union organizer.

And of course, President Trump was positively fuzzy-cozy with the Clintons almost forever — until he ran for president and decided they were not his cocktail-party pals, but cousins of Satan.

Please recall that Ted Cruz won the Idaho primary — so the committee could argue that Trump’s history became moot.

But what about BEFORE the primary, in the same time frame as they summoned the hangman for Ahlquist?

Bradway, bless him, is morally incapable of lying — so he could only put things to bed with a burst of candor.

“The Ahlquist thing isn’t ancient history,” he said of the Reagan reference. “We’re talking the last couple of years.”

And Trump?

“Well, that was a national election, and Idaho voters weren’t going to decide the presidency.”

A tad weak, Don, but honest.

Clearly, choosing our next governor must feel critical to this committee — thus requiring careful checking of GOP credentials.

More than enough to bend some silly old rule.

But hey, it was their rule all along — so who’s counting?

• • •

Steve Cameron can be reached at: scameron@cdapress.com.

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