GOP club founders leaving the party

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COEUR d’ALENE — A Republican Party that includes Donald Trump no longer has room for Jeff Ward or Lora Gervais.

In protest, the two leaders of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans notified the club’s board last week that they’re resigning, and the public announcement is expected to be made today, Ward said.

“I cannot associate with a party that would nominate Donald Trump,” Ward told The Press Wednesday.

KCRR Secretary Larry Seaward said the entire situation will be discussed with members today at noon at The Fedora Pub & Grille in Coeur d’Alene. He said his advice for people is to “come to the meeting and listen.”

“This is not a war, and it has nothing to do with our club,” Seaward told The Press. “It has to do with national issues.”

It has to do with Donald Trump.

In calling him “the most dangerous” nominee he’s known, Ward said Trump’s disregard for the U.S. Constitution “frightens the heck out of me.” That’s a sentiment shared by Gervais, who attended the Republican National Convention as a Ted Cruz supporter last week in Cleveland and was outspoken about her constitutional concerns.

Ward and Gervais, founders of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans in 2009 along with Ron Lahr, formalized their GOP divorce by re-registering as “unaffiliated,” Ward said. But that doesn’t mean they’re now supporting Hillary Clinton.

“Absolutely not,” Ward said. “That would be jumping from the frying pan into the fire. But this is the first time in 32 years I won’t be voting for a Republican president.”

Gervais told The Press she agrees with Seaward in that her resignation isn’t aimed at any local targets.

“I love Reagan Republicans...this has nothing to do with anyone,” she said. “It’s hard, but that’s how convicted I am. I have to say what I believe.”

Ward said he and his wife, Glorie, will keep plenty busy without the KCRR because they have a grandson arriving in two weeks, “so I’m a new hostage to the future there.”

But he said changing something that’s played such a big part in his life isn’t easy.

“I’ll still be a political junkie,” he said. “I just won’t be active in the Republican Party anymore.”

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