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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Boise

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March 5, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Idaho's Turn: Closed caucus on Super Tuesday

Idaho's first ever Republican Presidential Nomination caucus will be held on Super Tuesday, March 6.

Idaho's first ever Republican Presidential Nomination caucus will be held on Super Tuesday, March 6. (Photo courtesy of idaho-republican-caucus.com)

SANDPOINT — Super Tuesday is upon us. With seven primaries, three caucuses, and 419 delegates at stake, the news media are rich with speculation. For the first time ever, the state of Idaho’s Republican Party gets to be part of the buzz.

Until this year, Idaho’s GOP determined its presidential and local nominee preferences with a primary in late May. At the presidential level, the 32 delegates chosen then attended the GOP National Convention with little allegiance to the candidates. Three quarters of the delegates were “soft pledged” (meaning they could change their minds) and the remaining 8 were simply “unpledged” — in other words, free agents.

The late season primary and the changeable delegates meant that Republican candidates rarely visited and few paid attention to the Gem State. Finally, the GOP got tired of being ignored and resolved to make its sizable number of delegates — more than Iowa, New Hampshire or Nevada — count in 2012.

So last October, they instituted a caucus system and moved the date way, way up to Super Tuesday — not an uncommon move for states who want more of an early say in the nomination process. So, on Tuesday, 44 counties will open their doors to first-time caucus goers at 7 p.m. In accordance with Idaho’s new voter identification law, only registered Republicans with valid ID can participate.

After that, it gets complicated.

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Comments | Topics: Boise, Butch Otter, caucus