Stephen Yates was elected State Republican Chair in August 2014 after the Idaho Republican convention fell apart in Moscow and previous Chair Barry Peterson was displaced by a state court judge.  

A former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, Yates is the CEO of DC International Advisory, a company that advises clients on with an ever-changing world.  He lives in Idaho Falls with his wife Diana and two children.  Yates often provides commentary on foreign policy issues for Fox News.

1.         How did Idaho Republicans win every statewide race in 2014 despite numerous primary battles and the disastrous state convention?

Hard work and working together. For me, it was all about August 2nd forward. From somewhat of a cold start, we picked up with the nominees, funding, platform, and rules we inherited, and just focused on moving forward and building from there.

Since we were in the midst of the general election cycle, our season of internal competition was over, and we focused time, funding, and messaging on working with our nominees and challenging the opposition party.

It helped a great deal to have the voices of Governor Otter, Congressman Labrador, and (now) Secretary of State Lawerence Denney joining our own in the closing weeks of the election, emphasizing the values and priorities that a majority of Republicans and Idahoans agree upon.

We worked hard to raise funds to support direct mail and other communication efforts that supported all Republican nominees together – from the Governor to the Congressional delegation to our state legislators. We travelled the state in support of candidates and even managed to make modest financial contributions to a handful of priority campaigns.

In the end, credit goes to the candidates themselves for prevailing in their election. The state party, however, did all it could to stand with our candidates, and in meaningful ways helped them stand together.

2.         Have the various splits between factions of the Idaho Republican party been healed?

No large organization is free of division and rivalry. We aim to run fair and efficient meetings, ensure contending views are heard, treat party members and elected officials with respect, and focus on results. The more we are able to do that, division and rivalry diminish, and the value of our party resolutions and nominations increases.

3.         What are you doing to build the Idaho Republican party in 2015 and 2016?

My goals as chairman, now through our 2016 convention, are to build a strong Idaho Republican Party that:

  1. Welcomes home those who have been less active in recent years.
  2. Bridges grassroots and governance priorities.
  3. Restores its fiscal health.
  4. Applies simple, clear, and well-trained rules evenly to all.
  5. Have our values and platform translated into positive and successful principles of government.

As a non-election year, 2015 is a vital time to plan, train, and raise funds needed for the season of competition in 2016 – our Idaho primaries and selection of our nominee for President of the United States. We look forward to welcoming presidential candidates competing for Idaho’s delegates. We also look forward to developing and deploying a full victory plan for the 2016 cycle, a luxury we did not enjoy in 2014.

4.         Who do you see as possible candidates for Governor in 2018?

My current term runs until our June 2016 state convention. Anything beyond that is beyond my line of sight and current responsibility.

5.         Any observations on the 2016 presidential race?

Every presidential race is consequential. I believe our fundamental freedoms and way of life are at risk at home and abroad. President Obama’s two terms have taken the country and its standing in the world decidedly in the wrong direction.

As a Republican, I am excited about the caliber and range of candidates from which we will get to choose. We will be inviting all of them to visit Idaho and engage our members. The RNC amended its rules to tighten up the debates and primary processes (starting later and ending earlier), and moved the national convention up to July 2016. All moves aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of our presidential nominee.

6.         What do you like to do in your spare time?

What is spare time? I run an international risk management business, two television studios, and support a new public policy think tank. I do all of that to provide for and be available to my wife, daughter, and son as much as possible. Together we enjoy Idaho’s outdoors and the shooting sports every chance we get. Or we simply enjoy time together in our Idaho Falls home.

Steve Taggart is an Idaho Falls attorney specializing in bankruptcy (www.MaynesTaggart.com).  He has an extensive background in politics and public policy.  Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..