Friday, March 2, 2012

Weigh in on presidential nominee

Blaine County GOP caucus on Tuesday


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

Idaho's first Republican caucus is approaching, and Blaine County GOP voters will be able to participate in Super Tuesday for the first time in history.

Voters will gather at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6, at the Wood River Middle School cafeteria in Hailey to choose one of five candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. Any Blaine County voter is welcome to attend, but those who are not registered Republicans must declare with the party before casting a ballot.

Five candidates have filed for the caucus: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Buddy Roemer.

This is the first presidential election since the Idaho Republican State Central Committee met in Moscow last summer and voted to change the form of the presidential preliminary elections. Prior to this year, the state held primary elections for all local, state and federal officials in May; the committee changed the presidential preliminaries to a caucus just for presidential candidates held on Super Tuesday.

The idea, according to party officials, was to give Idaho a chance to weigh in on the presidential nomination before there was a presumptive nominee. Currently, the nomination is not a lock for any candidate, potentially giving Idaho and its 32 delegates more weight.

Santorum made several campaign stops in Idaho last month, and Romney visited the state Feb. 17 before speaking in Idaho Falls on Thursday, March 1. Idaho Republican Party Executive Director Jonathan Parker said last month that Santorum was putting out feelers regarding television ads.

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"Super Tuesday is really when most of the votes will be cast," said Ed Terrazas, Blaine County Republican Central Committee chair, last month. "That's when we will have a good handle on who the nominee will be."

The Idaho caucus will not be winner-take-all for the state's delegates. Voters will have a full hour to chat and attempt to convince other caucus attendees to vote for a certain candidate before casting votes at 7 p.m.

Katherine Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com

Caucus Essentials

What: Idaho's first Republican caucus

Who: All Blaine County Republicans

When: Tuesday, March 6, at 6 p.m.

Where: Wood River Middle School cafeteria, 900 N. Second Ave in Hailey

Why: To help choose a presidential nominee

More questions? Call Ed Terrazas at 721-0824




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