Federal, state and county elections in Idaho require candidates disclose their political affiliation. Currently, municipal elections are nonpartisan, but that could be changing.
If the Idaho Republican Party gets its way, city council elections and other municipal races would become partisan affairs. The state’s GOP is hoping the legislature passes a bill to inject politics into elections at the community level.
Leading the charge to include party identification in local races is Ryan Davidson, the chair of the Ada County Republican Party. In an interview with the Statesman, Davidson says identifying candidates’ political affiliations will help voters make better decisions. He made the case for partisan elections last June at the state GOP’s convention in Pocatello. The party’s resolutions committee backed the idea overwhelmingly.
Democratic Representative Mat Erpelding concedes that in races where progressive candidates aren’t saddled with a “D” after their name, they find success. Davidson considers that evidence of left-leaning candidates seeking to hide their affiliation.
Local Treasure Valley officials are responding to the proposal tepidly. Nampa City Councilman Darl Bruner says he doesn’t like the idea of an uninformed voter casting a ballot and making a decision solely based on party. Eagle City Councilwoman Jill Mitchell says she doesn’t see the proposal benefitting the council. She worries it will only invite divisiveness.
So far, no lawmaker has said they’ll introduce the bill.
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