When Norm Semanko was elected as chairman of the Idaho Republican Party in 2008, a deep division was created within party membership. The divide may have been closed Saturday as Semanko was unanimously re-elected to the post.
Semanko faced no opposition in his re-election bid, even though delegates from each county in the state had the opportunity to nominate someone of its own choosing. Delegates had only good things to say about Semanko, who some referred to as a person who has bridged the divide between those who supported him in 2008 and those who supported former chairman Kirk Sullivan. “He has been willing to go into the counties and the districts and work out the divisions,” said one delegate in a speech in support of Semanko’s re-election bid. GOP insider Rod Beck praised Semanko’s ability to navigate through the complexity of party politics. “I say we thank him for weaving through this minefield and learning to work a Rubik’s cube,” praised Beck. One delegate said that Semanko is the man who can guide the party to electoral successes in November.
Semanko ousted Sullivan at the party’s convention in 2008 with the help of then-state Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle. Sullivan had the backing of the party’s official head, Gov. Butch Otter.