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Politics & Government

Judge Rules Peterson Is No Longer Chairman Of Idaho's Republican Party

Barry Peterson, Butch Otter
Emilie Ritter Saunders
Boise State Public Radio

Barry Peterson is no longer the chairman of the Idaho Republican Party, that's the ruling from 5th District Judge Randy Stoker.

“His term has expired,” Stoker told the court. The judge’s ruling came after extensive arguments that lasted for more than two hours in court this morning in Twin Falls. “This is not a question of this court taking any position with regard to what the Republican Party should do in this state,” Stoker said. “I have no dog in this fight, so to speak.” - Spokesman-Review

Earlier this month, Peterson filed a lawsuit against two members of his own party who called an Aug. 2 meeting of the GOP Central Committee after the group left its state convention without voting on a platform or new leaders. Peterson had called for an Aug. 9 meeting.

As the Spokesman-Review reports, Peterson's lawsuit essentially asked the 5th District Court to rule he is still chairman of the GOP.

"Peterson argued that by adjourning without voting on leaders, the convention delegates were choosing to keep him on for another two years. Convention Chairman Raul Labrador said as much before the adjournment, after conferring with parliamentarian Cornel Rasor. But Rasor later said publicly that he erred, and “inadvertently misread the rules.” “That was the error the chairman made, that was the error the parliamentarian made,” the judge said. “And frankly that was the reason why Mr. Peterson and the rest of the officers just weren’t elected.” - Spokesman-Review

The Idaho Statesman reports the judge's ruling is "a victory for Gov. Butch Otter's more traditional wing of the Republican party. Otter loyalists opposed to Peterson were behind the call for the Aug. 2 meeting."

“You are a party without direction, it’s pretty clear,” the judge said. “We have the political maneuvering here as to whether we meet on the 9th or the 2nd. And the objective of the rules is to put in place a mechanism for party officials who have the authority to elect their officers, and there is no question in my mind, that that rests with the central committee.” - Spokesman-Review

Spokesman reporter Betsy Russell tweeted after the hearing that Peterson doesn't intend to run for chairman at the party's Aug. 2 meeting.