Declarations of Independence

Back in April I relayed word of a split in the Republican majority of the Idaho state legislature and wondered whether it could "be exploited in the interest of actually opening up the two party system to represent a wider array of interests and views." We may well find out over the course of the state's 2010 election contests. Former Republican state legislator Jana Kemp has launched an independent gubernatorial campaign. Kevin Richert provides the commentary at The Idaho Statesman:

Jana Kemp is one of those politicians the Idaho GOP hardliners call a RINO — a "Republican In Name Only." Kemp doesn't even call herself a Republican these days. The former one-term legislator is running for governor as an independent. When a moderate such as Kemp decides she is better off as an independent, I think that says something about the direction and the orthodoxy of the Idaho Republican Party. Kemp served only two years in the Idaho House of Representatives, from 2004 to 2006, but that was enough time to demonstrate her independent streak within a generally conservative 57-member GOP caucus . . . She's a long shot . . . But Kemp's odds aren't any worse running as an independent. She avoids a GOP primary that would be unwinnabl . . . Running as an independent is an unorthodox strategy, but it isn't a foolish one . . . By running as an independent — and listing education, "entrepreneurial economic development" and sustainable energy as her priorities — Kemp at least implies that those platforms don't fit under the current GOP tent. She implies that the Republican Party is squeezing out moderates who take middle-of-the-road positions. If she can convince some independent-minded Idahoans to think likewise, this could be troubling for the GOP.

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