BOISE -- We are just over one week away from the primary elections in Idaho. Voters in Idaho's majority party, the GOP, are deciding who they'll back for governor, congressman, or their local district lawmakers.
But, KTVB Political Analyst Dr. Jim Weatherby says elections on the smallest stage - precinct committee posts - could be some of the most important. And some of the contests are getting pretty heated.
The foundation blocks of the party are the precinct workers, said Weatherby. In many of the counties, there are major contests going on for who will be the precinct committee person in each precinct, and we have over 900 in the state of Idaho.
Precinct committe positions are important because they determine power within the party organization. Committees govern their parties in the state, establishing policy and function, and recruiting and supporting candidates.
According to Weatherby, the GOP Committee has been controlled by tea party Republicans since 2008. They have taken stances that conflicted with GOP lawmakers, like on the issue of the state insurance exchange.
But that could all change with this election.
It's head-to-head competition all the way across the state where the pro-business traditional conservatives are pushing back, and trying to take control of the party they lost in 2008, said Weatherby.
Those races are highlighted by state GOP Committee Chair Barry Peterson running against former State Senator Tim Corder, for a precinct committee seat.
(Attorney General) Lawrence Wasden has said it, I think (Rep.) Mike Simpson said it, and I think it is true, that this primary contest, with elected officials from the precinct level all the way to the Congressional Districts is about fighting and capturing the heart and soul of the Republican Party, said Weatherby.
As far as what group might win the heart and soul of the Republican Party, Weatherby says, it will be determined by turnout, and whichever side gets their supporters to the polls.
The primary elections are May 20th.