AP Decision Notes: What to Expect in Idaho’s GOP Caucuses

February 28, 2024by Robert Yoon, Associated Press
AP Decision Notes: What to Expect in Idaho’s GOP Caucuses
The Idaho state flag hangs in the State Capitol in Boise, Idaho, Jan. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Kyle Green, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — When life cancels your primary, have a caucus.

That’s what Idaho Republicans will do this Saturday when they gather in meetings across the state to help pick their party’s presidential nominee.

State legislators originally hoped to save money by consolidating the March 12 presidential primary with their May 21 primary for state and local offices. But after passing legislation last year canceling the March primary, the lawmakers neglected to take the additional step of moving the event to the May date, in effect canceling the presidential contest entirely — seemingly inadvertently.

The state parties instead will hold presidential caucuses this year: Republicans on Saturday and the Democrats on May 23.

Former President Donald Trump and Nikki Haley, his former U.N. ambassador, will compete for the state’s 32 Republican delegates. Haley is looking to score her first victory against Trump, but, given the pattern of voting in previous contests this year, she is unlikely to find it in Idaho.

In their previous matchups, Haley generally performed best among voters in areas that tend to support Democrats in elections, while Trump generally did best in areas that traditionally favor Republicans. Trump placed a distant second in the 2016 Idaho primary behind Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, but Trump’s loss in the state eight years ago against a very conservative candidate doesn’t reveal any obvious paths to victory for Haley this year.

The Republican caucuses will largely resemble the first-in-the-nation caucuses that Iowa Republican staged in January. Voters across the state will meet in their designated caucus sites and will hear short pitches on behalf of the various candidates. Then they will vote by secret ballot, with the results tabulated at each caucus site. Vote totals from all caucus sites will be added up and the results used to determine how many delegates each candidate has won.

The last time Idaho Republicans held presidential caucuses was in 2012, when Mitt Romney, now a Utah senator, won with 62% of the vote as part of that year’s Super Tuesday.

A look at what to expect on election night:

CAUCUS DAY

The caucuses convene at 3:30 p.m. EST, which 1:30 p.m. MST and 12:30 p.m. PST. Idaho is in both the Mountain and Pacific time zones. Participants may check in as early as 2:00 p.m. EST, which is 12:00 p.m. MST and 11:00 a.m. PST. There is no set end time for the caucuses.

WHAT’S ON THE BALLOT

The caucuses are the only contest on the ballot. In addition to Haley and Trump, the other names on the ballot are those of former candidates Ryan Binkley, Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy.

WHO GETS TO VOTE

Only voters registered as Republicans in Idaho may participate in the caucuses. The deadline to register was Dec. 31.

DELEGATE ALLOCATION RULES

All of Idaho’s 32 Republican delegates will be awarded to the candidate who receives more than 50% of the statewide vote. If no candidate receives a vote majority, the delegates will be allocated in proportion to the statewide vote results, although a candidate must receive at least 15% to qualify for any delegates.

DECISION NOTES

The state party is expected to announce the final vote results and the winner of the primary at some point on caucus night. The Associated Press’ winner call will be based on the state party’s announcement.

WHAT DO TURNOUT AND ADVANCE VOTE LOOK LIKE

As of Feb. 1, there were more than 581,000 registered Republicans in Idaho, about 58% of all registered voters. The last time the state party held presidential caucuses in 2012, nearly 45,000 votes were cast, roughly one-fifth of all registered Republicans at that time.

The state party’s caucus rules have no provision for early or absentee voting.

HOW LONG DOES VOTE-COUNTING USUALLY TAKE?

There isn’t a recent presidential caucus to provide an accurate sense of how long vote-counting will take, but the state party plans to announce the results and the winner at some point on caucus night.

ARE WE THERE YET?

As of Saturday, there will be 135 days until the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee and 248 days until the November general election.

___

Associated Press writer David A. Lieb in Jefferson City, Missouri, contributed to this report.

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Primaries

Biden and Trump Win Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Wisconsin Primaries

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Voters in four states weighed in Tuesday on their parties' presidential nominees, a largely symbolic vote now that... Read More

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Voters in four states weighed in Tuesday on their parties' presidential nominees, a largely symbolic vote now that both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have locked up the Democratic and Republican nominations. Biden and Trump easily won primaries in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Wisconsin, adding to... Read More

Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin Get Their Say in Presidential Primaries

Voters in four states will weigh in Tuesday on their parties' presidential nominees, a largely symbolic vote now that both President Joe Biden and... Read More

Voters in four states will weigh in Tuesday on their parties' presidential nominees, a largely symbolic vote now that both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have locked up the Democratic and Republican nominations. Biden and Trump are both expected to easily win primaries in Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin and add... Read More

Trump Favorites Moreno and Merrin Win GOP Primaries to Face Two Vulnerable Ohio Dems This Fall

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Things went former President Donald Trump’s way on Tuesday in a pair of high-profile elections in Ohio that... Read More

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Things went former President Donald Trump’s way on Tuesday in a pair of high-profile elections in Ohio that could determine Republicans' chances of picking up critical seats this fall and expanding their power in Washington. In the bruising and expensive primary to face Democratic Sen.... Read More

AP Decision Notes: What to Expect in the Tuesday Presidential and State Primaries

WASHINGTON (AP) — Voting in the races for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations happens again Tuesday, a week after President... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — Voting in the races for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations happens again Tuesday, a week after President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump secured enough delegate support to become their parties’ presumptive nominees. Three states also will hold primaries for other offices... Read More

AP Decision Notes: What to Expect in Idaho's GOP Caucuses

WASHINGTON (AP) — When life cancels your primary, have a caucus. That’s what Idaho Republicans will do this Saturday when... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — When life cancels your primary, have a caucus. That’s what Idaho Republicans will do this Saturday when they gather in meetings across the state to help pick their party’s presidential nominee. State legislators originally hoped to save money by consolidating the March 12... Read More

At Conservative Gala, Trump Remarks Show Challenges in GOP Black Voter Outreach

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Golden and scarlet balloons adorned an entrance guarded by the Secret Service that led straight to... Read More

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Golden and scarlet balloons adorned an entrance guarded by the Secret Service that led straight to a bar abuzz with excited reunions, a line of attendees waiting to take pictures at a photo wall and a spacious auditorium set to celebrate a... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top