SANDPOINT — Local Republicans had the opportunity for celebration and soul-searching in equal measure at the annual Lincoln Day dinner Friday night.
Party leaders and members alike gathered at the Bonner County Fairgrounds to socialize and get a sense of where the party is at and where it is headed. Speaking was Idaho Republican Party Chairman Barry Peterson, who traveled from Boise to Sandpoint for the occasion.
Inspired by the conservative ideals expressed by Barry Goldwater during the 1964 presidential campaign, Peterson said he felt the GOP was the party that best advocated personal liberty and a reverence for God.
“It makes my heart hurt that we have turned aside from the deity that gave us the opportunity to pursue liberty,” he said.
He also encouraged attendees to maintain their efforts in promoting the conservative agenda and North Idaho values.
“If all of Idaho was a reflection of your society, we would be a better society,” Peterson said.
According to Danielle Ahrens, who organized the Lincoln Day event this year, was the biggest the Bonner County GOP has ever hosted, raising more than $10,000.
The night was a great chance for party members to have a little fun together and discuss the state of the party amongst themselves. The theme of the evening, “Denim and Diamonds” encouraged people to dress semi-casually in jeans for the occasion.
Lincoln Day also served as the debut for newly-appointed county Commissioner Glen Bailey, who was cleared by Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter to take over the seat on Friday.
Aside from Bailey, representatives from the offices of Rep. Raul Labrador, Sen. Mike Crapo and Sen. Jim Risch were in attendance, as was Idaho Sen. Russell Fultcher and other Boise Republican mainstays.