Doyle Beck

Doyle Beck

Thank you to the voters for supporting conservative candidates in the 2020 Republican primary. Victory did not come easy, and while there are certainly examples in which the liberal candidate won, the overwhelming story from the election results is voters tended to side with champions of limited government.

Conservatives overcame a lot of obstacles — chiefly hostility from the media and dishonesty by liberal groups — to add as many as six seats in the state House of Representatives Republican caucus and one seat in the state Senate. That’s decisive and says a lot about the voters’ support of the Republican Party’s continued movement back toward our conservative principles.

In eastern Idaho, conservatives are thrilled with the wins by former Reps. Ron Nate and Karey Hanks and with having kept Reps. Chad Christensen and Julianne Young in office despite an onslaught of negative ads and outright lies against them.

It’s not new for conservatives to have to combat misinformation each election cycle. But what I find interesting is how almost every time this election season, liberals tried to cloak themselves as something they’re not in order to gain the confidence of voters. When was the last time you saw a conservative pretend to be a liberal or moderate to gain an advantage? It used to be that dishonest Democrats would register as Republicans to vote in the closed primary to nominate the most liberal Republicans on the ballot. That was the extent of their gamesmanship. But that’s no longer enough.

Liberals tried to multiply their deception in this election cycle. They doubled down on their “Idaho Conservatives” website, spending money on social media to try to attract a following from actual conservatives. But the website quickly revealed its true intentions by bashing right-leaning candidates and conservative groups like Idaho Freedom Foundation and Idaho Second Amendment Alliance. Soon the site was banning anyone who dared to challenge their narrative.

Liberals tried to con voters with outfits like “Sportsmen for Idaho,” which showed up on the scene to back RINOs in hot contests. Who is Sportsmen for Idaho? It was hard to tell because the group only shows up in elections and doesn’t even have a website. But its name is intended to evoke images of Idahoans who believe in the Second Amendment, backing candidates who think similarly. But that’s not what it is about at all. It’s a political action committee funded by the radical environmentalist group Conservation Voters of Idaho. The group has only limited success getting Democrats elected, so it puts money behind nonpartisan races and RINO Republicans. It’s a lot for voters to see through such deceitfulness, but for the most part, they did.

Frank VanderSloot, the king of multilevel marketing, the only man that I know of who claims to be both an “avid conservative,” yet gives money to most liberal candidates, including Barack Obama, also got in on the primary election, continuing on with his personal vendetta against Bryan Smith and Rep. Bryan Zollinger. Vandersloot and his allies spent a ton of money to defeat incumbent conservatives and protect incumbent liberals. VanderSloot’s contributions to Marco Erickson’s campaign contributed to Zollinger’s very narrow loss, probably the worst defeat of the night.

Clearly the story of this year’s election, though historic for being conducted entirely by mail, is that conservatives won big. Voters did their own research and largely saw through the gimmicks and the distortions to give us a fairly decent outcome. I’m thankful for that outcome. Now, onward to November.

Doyle Beck is the Legislative District 30 chairman of the Idaho Republican Party.