Republican candidates vying for state and federal office took tough conservative stances on a range of issues Saturday at an annual meeting of Blaine County GOP supporters in Hailey, with some aligning themselves with the former President Donald Trump.
The Blaine County Republican Central Committee’s Lincoln Day event at the community campus gave voters the opportunity to address candidates running for governor of Idaho, the U.S. Congress and other offices. .
U.S. Senator Mike Crapo opened the event with a focused address on election integrity, commenting on the 2020 presidential election and warning of the dangers of federal government overreach. The topics were recurring themes at the event, as the candidates were questioned later on the issues of mask and vaccine mandates, state sovereignty and gun rights.
In a forum featuring candidates planning to run for governor of Idaho later this year, several candidates said they should replace incumbent Governor Brad Little, another Republican.
Janice McGeachin, the current lieutenant governor and Idaho’s first female lieutenant governor, continued to advocate for Idaho’s more right-wing leadership.
“I’m running for governor to make Idaho free again,” she said in her opening speech, invoking Trump.
McGeachin has been endorsed by Trump to be Idaho’s next governor and is a staunch pro-life conservative. She reiterated her support for conservative values and touted her surprise ban on mask mandates in Idaho during a brief term as acting governor while Little was out of state at a May conference. ‘last year. The action was later called off.
Candidate Steve Bradshaw has been a full-time pastor for 17 years and a county commissioner in Bonner County, northern Idaho. Bradshaw said the federal government’s power was far too broad and should be reduced. Idaho’s sovereignty must come first, he said.
Bradshaw began with comments about blockages in early responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When the whole COVID thing started, we all thought it could be something catastrophic, so we all followed the instructions and did our due diligence,” he said. “Soon after, we discovered the pandemic was more of a hoax than a pandemic.”
As county commissioner, he refused to close Bonner County in 2020 and said the county was “open for business.”
When asked later what he believed to be the most critical issue in the upcoming election, Bradshaw simply said he would “end the emergency and get the state back to work”, which was greeted by enthusiastic applause from the audience.
Ed Humphries, a financial officer from Treasure Valley in southern Idaho, threw his hat into the ring for the gubernatorial race and proudly referred to his lack of a political background as a way to potentially make shake things up in state government. He said an outsider could better represent families and workers in Idaho than special interest groups based in Washington, D.C.
“Are we going to be the generation that will pass on our country in a worse state than we inherited it? Humphries urged the audience.
As chief financial officer, Humphries believes that enacting free-market policies and maintaining a balanced budget are key to increasing wages and profits for workers and business owners across the state, a- he declared.
Later, Bryan Smith, who is running to represent Idaho’s 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives, spoke harshly about Congressman Mike Simpson, the district’s longtime representative who beat Smith in the 2014 Republican primary.
“For more than 20 years, Mike Simpson has been in Washington, voting for amnesty for illegal immigrants, massive government spending, bigger government, special transgender protection,” he said, “and even joined President Trump’s Jan. 6 witch-hunting commission of Nancy Pelosi.”
Smith believes he is the right representative of conservative values in the district and “will continue to lead the fight for electoral integrity; requiring voter ID cards to vote in all 50 states – fighting to restart Trump’s border wall. I will also support Trump in his Americas First program.
“Let’s send a conservative voice to Washington,” he said in conclusion.
The 2nd Congressional District comprises much of central and eastern Idaho, including Blaine County.
The Republican primary for Congress and gubernatorial candidates will take place on May 17. General elections will be held on November 8. ￼