GOP members oppose Mack appearance - Coeur d'Alene Press: Political

GOP members oppose Mack appearance

Letter signers say former sheriff has been 'hostile to the Republican party'

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Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 12:15 am

COEUR d'ALENE - The selection of Richard Mack as the keynote speaker at the Kootenai County Republican Party's March 24 Lincoln Day Dinner isn't sitting well with a group of prominent party members.

Mack, a self-described "constitutional conservative" and frequent speaker on the national Tea Party circuit, is a former Arizona sheriff. Now living in Texas, Mack is running for Congress in his district's Republican primary.

A letter opposing Mack's appearance at the annual Republican party dinner and fundraiser was sent Monday to county party chair Tina Jacobson and secretary Lorri Erickson. It was signed by 14 elected Central Committee members.

Letter signer Jeff Ward, Precinct 23 Committeeman and president of the Idaho Federation of Reagan Republicans, told The Press they are troubled by the selection of Mack because "he's been fairly hostile to the Republican party."

"It just doesn't make any sense to me," he said.

Central Committee members had no say in the selection, Ward said. They were told Mack would be the featured speaker.

The letter writers ask that the invitation to Mack be withdrawn and that no party funds be expended for him, with disclosure to the Central Committee of the Kootenai County Republican Party's financial records as proof that no funds have been directed Mack's way.

The purpose of the Lincoln Day Dinner, according to the letter, is to celebrate the birth of Lincoln, the nation's first Republican president and raise funds for the party.

Before chronicling Mack's various political affiliations through the years, the letter writers state: "Mr. Mack has been presented to us as a former sheriff and a Republican candidate for Congress. Upon further research, it is quite evident that Mr. Mack's support of the Republican Party and Republican Party candidates is inconsistent, intermittent and questionable ... In fact, Mr. Mack's political history has shown a consistent opposition to the Republican Party and a strong affinity to other political parties, including the Democrat, Libertarian and Constitution Parties."

Mack served two terms as a county sheriff in Arizona as an elected Democrat, and made an unsuccessful third run for sheriff as a Democrat.

He then made an unsuccessful run for election to a sheriff's position in Utah, as a Republican.

Mack later ran for governor in Utah as a Libertarian, and then for the Senate in Arizona, also as a Libertarian.

The letter details various news articles in which Mack is quoted making disparaging remarks about the Republican and Democratic parties.

The letter writers are critical of Mack's election challenges mounted against conservative Republican incumbents, including his Texas opponent, 13-term Rep. Lamar Smith. They also note that although Mack is running as a Republican, he continues to speak at Libertarian and Constitution Party events, and has consistently endorsed Constitution and Libertarian candidates running against Republicans.

In November 2009, Mack spoke at the Kootenai County Constitution Party's first Freedom Festival held at the Greyhound Park in Post Falls.

The letter states that elected Republican officials and party leaders appearing at the Lincoln Day Dinner may be offended if they are asked to share the podium with someone likely to support their opponents, and consequently affecting the county party's fundraising efforts for Republican candidates.

Ward said the Central Committee members also don't know what Mack is being paid, and if the party is paying him.

"At the core of it, that's been kind of the way things have been for the Central Committee," Ward said. "If you're not in the right clique, you're not always in on what's going on."

Tina Jacobson could not be immediately reached for comment.

The other Central Committee members whose names are at the bottom of the protest letter are: Lora Gervais, Matt Roetter, Paul Matthews, Donna Montgomery, Duane Rasmussen, Ron Lahr, Luke Sommer, Jacquie Mayo, Marv Lekstrum, Gary Ingram, Julie Chadderdon, Sharon Culbreth and Brad Corkill.

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  • COG777 posted at 12:33 am on Thu, Feb 23, 2012.

    COG777 Posts: 340


    You are making assertions and allegations against people here. I would like to hear one thing that Vito has voted for or against or proposed that has gone against the party line of being a Conservative Republican. Show us where he voted any different from those you agree with.

    As far as the speaker I can understand the concern since it is a Republican Party function. Allowing a person who endorses other candidates could give that endorsement more credibility since he is being recognized and touted as their choice for speaker. I find it somewhat ironic that the speaker is running as a republican rather than constitution party member.

  • babydriver posted at 10:28 am on Wed, Feb 22, 2012.

    babydriver Posts: 1393

    So Wiseguy,

    Big government is cool with you? You like having every aspect of your life outlined for you?

    What does the word LIBERTY mean to you?

  • WilliamWMiller posted at 10:16 am on Wed, Feb 22, 2012.

    WilliamWMiller Posts: 106

    I get it, they all like burger king

  • Brent Regan posted at 8:49 am on Wed, Feb 22, 2012.

    Brent Regan Posts: 663

    Years ago I visited my sister in New Orleans. She took me to a restaurant on Bourbon St. As we walked past a nightclub featuring a female impersonator burlesque show the bouncer yelled out “Don’t be afraid. You went to see “Jaws” and you didn’t turn into a shark.”

    I appreciate Ward et al’s point about having a controversial speaker and I suspect that the real problem is in the “how” and not the “who”. Let that be a lesson for all. It WILL make for an interesting evening.

    I did get a chuckle about politicians possibly being offended. C’mon guys, its POLITICS. If you get offended that easily then maybe you are in the wrong profession. Just think of it as immersion therapy.

  • WilliamWMiller posted at 8:21 am on Wed, Feb 22, 2012.

    WilliamWMiller Posts: 106

    Brought to us by the same bozos who go around telling people no republican in anyway is responsible for the condition of our country right now. It is 100% the democrats fault. If your an mainstream R you wear the white hat and do no wrong. Ignorant, misguided thought police I say. When you run into one of these R Nazis tell then what you really think. Next they will want to burn books and publications.

  • Wiseguy posted at 7:24 am on Wed, Feb 22, 2012.

    Wiseguy Posts: 77

    TO Keven Johnson: To call local people who have worked for the Republican Party for years RINOs while supporting a political opportunist who only calls himself a Republican (twice in 20 years) when he is running against conservative Republicans is absurd and insulting. For you information those real Republicans you disparage do all the heavy lifting in Republican politics in this county while the Libertarian/Constitution Party interlopers spend their time talking about coining silver and promoting unpasteurized milk.

  • Wiseguy posted at 7:12 am on Wed, Feb 22, 2012.

    Wiseguy Posts: 77

    What do you expect since the Constitution Party/Libertarian Party takeover of the Republican Party in Kootenai County two years ago. Real Republicans, conservative Republicans, Tea Party Republicans and Reagan Republicans have been pushed out in favor of fringe third party types like Phil Hart, Tina Jacobson, Vito Barbieri, Bobby Pederson and now Richard Mack. Anti-Republican groups like Rally Right and North Idaho Conservatives United are just front groups for the Constitution Party and Libertarian Party to take over a party that can actually get people elected even though they hate the party and what it stands for.

  • Keven Johnson posted at 7:08 am on Wed, Feb 22, 2012.

    Keven Johnson Posts: 1389

    Sheriff Mack puts the best interests of the country above party loyalty, that's why these people oppose him. The "a republican can do no wrong" mentality is what gave us GW Bush as president and McCain as the 2008 nominee.

    The irony is that these very same country club republicans (RINO's really) who oppose Sheriff Mack's visit are the ones who will benefit since his appearance is a fundraiser for the republican party.

  • capnbutch posted at 6:52 am on Wed, Feb 22, 2012.

    capnbutch Posts: 729

    I am unsure as to how this story got into the Press. It is doubtful that any of the people concerned would care to have such minor issues discussed if they were issues at all. It is like if your little sister had a wart on her bottom, most folks would politely refuse to discuss it.

    If some Republican really did reveal this, it is bad form. For a reporter to write a story on it is also bad form.

    Unkind. This is how political extremism develops.

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