Day two at the Idaho Republican Party's wrapped up as delegates were treated to a pulled pork sandwich dinner at the Riverbend Ranch, owned by businessman and GOP donor Frank Vandersloot, head of the Melaleuca corporation. Republicans were treated to the free food, as well as addresses from Vandersloot, Gov. Butch Otter, Sen. Jim Risch, and Fox News contributor Rich Galen.
On Friday, some delegates hammered out changes to the party platform while others worked resolutions. Saturday looks to be a lively day on Idaho State University's campus in Idaho Falls, where the convention is being held, as delegates will decide which resolutions and platform changes they will accept. Delegates will also hear from several high-profile Republicans, including Raul Labrador, the man slated to face Democrat Walt Minnick in the state's 1st Congressional District, as well as Sen. Mike Crapo, who has yet to make an appearance at the event due to his official duties in Washington, D.C. Risch will also speak Saturday. He previewed his speech Friday by saying that he is more hopeful for the future of the country and the Republican Party than ever before.
Delegates may be in for long and raucous stretch of work Saturday morning as they finish altering the party platform, which is a list of ideals for which party members and candidates usually stand. The platform committee approved several changes to the document, including language to require all Republican candidates for public office - local, state, and national - sign a loyalty oath promising to govern and serve according to the platform. One measure that should be confirmed easily is language that supports the Idaho Health Freedom Act, which essentially shields Idahoans from being forced to buy private insurance as a requirement of U.S. citizenship.
Party members will also consider several resolutions Saturday. Resolutions serve as a way for the party as a whole to voice an opinion on a particular subject and delegates used the opportunity to slam the federal government over several matters. One resolution supporting the Arizona immigration law to allow police officers to check the citizenship status of any person stopped through lawful means received overwhelming support in the committee and passed without dissent. Another resolution also deals with federal health care and encourages state lawmakers to continue efforts to stop federal reforms from being enacted in 2014. Republicans rejected several resolutions, including an odd one that encouraged the party to adopt Jedi of the Stars Wars movies series fame as the party's official religion.
Other GOP candidates will address crowds Saturday. State treasurer Ron Crane will speak, as will secretary of state Ben Ysursa, superintendent of public instruction Tom Luna. Congressman Mike Simpson, facing a Democrat and an Independent in November, will make his first appearance at the convention when he speaks prior to Labrador. GOP insiders say that Labrador, the nominee for the 1st District, will deliver an address designed to bring the party together after a divisive primary fight with Vaughn Ward.
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