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Idaho Enterprise

Dorothy Moon Reelected as GOP Chair

Jun 19, 2024 05:13PM ● By Clark Corbin, Idaho Capital Sun

Idaho Republican Party Chairwoman Dorothy Moon was reelected to a second two-year term at North Idaho College during the final day of the 2024 Republican State Convention. 

On Saturday, the Idaho Republican Party Secretary Maria Nate announced that Moon, who lives outside of Stanley, defeated challenger Mary Souza. Souza, of Coeur d’Alene, a former member of the Idaho Senate who announced her campaign for party chairperson last week. 

The leadership election brought to a close the most secretive Idaho Republican State Convention in at least a decade. Reporters were not allowed to attend any committee meetings, business meetings or attend the convention’s general session on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. This is a departure from recent Idaho GOP state conventions, when reporters were allowed to attend and cover the general sessions, which is where delegates vote on the party platform, rules and resolutions. All of those votes happened behind closed doors.

A Republican official led four reporters into the convention’s general session at about 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time Saturday, shortly before Moon was nominated for a second term as party chairwoman. Moon received a loud standing ovation from many of the hundreds of GOP delegates, alternates and guests at the general session. Many of them chanted “Dorothy! Dorothy! Dorothy!” after Moon delivered a short speech. 

Moon won by a vote of 376 to 228, Nate announced.

In other leadership races, Nate announced that Mark Fuller of Bonneville County was elected first vice chair of the Idaho Republican Party, defeating Wayne Hurst of Cassia County by 382 votes to Hurst’s 223.

Other Idaho GOP leadership race outcomes include:

Second vice chair: 403 votes for Viki Purdy, 186 votes for Billy Knopp

Secretary: 387 votes for Maria Nate, 212 votes for Charlene Matheson

Treasurer: 412 votes for Steve Bender, 187 votes for Brian Garrett

National committeeman: 390 votes for Bryan Smith, 200 votes for Tom Luna

National committeewoman: 396 votes for Vicki Keen, 191 votes for Shelley Blanchard

Moon was first elected chairwoman of the Idaho Republican Party in 2022, defeating former Idaho GOP Chairman Tom Luna. Moon will continue to lead the party for the next two years.

In an interview with the Idaho Capital Sun on Thursday, Moon described herself as a hard-worker and rule-follower, which she said are two traits that help her succeed in leading the party. Moon told the Sun she works about 120 hours a week and has been averaging three hours of sleep recently as she prepared for the GOP convention. 

“People have told me they have never seen anybody work harder in this position, and I believe that,” Moon told the Sun on Thursday.  “My vision has always been clear – just follow the rules, honor the platform,” Moon added. “That’s what I’ve always espoused.”

Delegates from counties across Idaho voted in the leadership races, which were conducted by written ballots, Nate said. Nate announced the vote at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

The leadership election was the final item on the agenda for the secretive, three-day convention that played out behind closed doors. Reporters were blocked from attending all GOP Committee meetings Thursday and Friday and blocked from attending the convention’s general session on Friday afternoon at North Idaho College, a publicly funded institution of higher education that the Idaho GOP rented space at. 

This year’s restrictions on media access were a departure from previous Idaho Republican state conventions, where reporters were allowed to attend and cover the general sessions.

Idaho Democratic Party Chairwoman Lauren Necochea issued a written statement shortly after Moon’s reelection on Saturday.  “Today’s reelection of Dorothy Moon further entrenched the extremists who have taken over the Idaho Republican Party,” Necochea wrote. “If my grandmother – a Reagan Republican born and raised in Idaho — were alive today, she would not believe what has become of the party. While the Idaho GOP becomes unrecognizable to traditional Republicans, I invite voters of all political stripes to get to know their local Democratic candidates.”

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