The Idaho Republican Party is ballyhooing its first-ever party caucuses Tuesday.
"After decades of politely waiting for the rest of the country to choose our presidential nominees, Idaho finally gets a chance to make a difference," Idaho GOP Caucus Committee Chairman Ronald M. Nate wrote in a blog posted on the state GOP Web site. "You can be a part of history on March 6th, when Idaho Republicans caucus to assign their delegates for the Republican presidential nomination."
The names of five candidates are on the ballot -- U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, an ex-Democrat who sought to be the GOP presidential nominee and since has switched to the Reform Party.
"We are delighted to have these five Republican candidates file to participate in the Idaho Republican Party Presidential Caucus," state GOP Chairman Norm Semanko told the Idaho State Journal. "It is becoming apparent that we are on the radar of the Republican presidential candidates as they realize that Idaho's 32 delegates are more delegates than Iowa, New Hampshire or Nevada."
After the caucus, "all will return to normal" and Idaho's Red State status will be taken for granted in the fall, Nate wrote.
"So, now is our chance. Make the caucus matter," he said. "Tell your friends and families that March 6th is their best opportunity to help decide the presidential election."
Analysts said Idaho may be the biggest battleground of the three caucus states on Super Tuesday because the state is about a quarter Mormon, but the Paul campaign has said it's a state he could potentially win, The Washington Post said.
Santorum and Gingrich also stumped in the state.
Nate encouraged independents to check out the caucuses as well.
"You already know the Democrats' nominee, so come take a look at the Republican candidates," he wrote. "We would love to have your (I) in our team."
The caucuses are open to registered Republicans and allow registration at the caucus site.
The primary system has several problems, particularly its timing and the binding of delegates, the state GOP said on its Web site. The caucus system addressed both issues by allowing the state to move up its delegate sweepstakes and allowing the delegates to be awarded proportionately instead of being bound to a candidate.
The state GOP said the caucus was for presidential preferences and that a primary for state and local officials would be held later.
"[The] motivation for the changes is about timing and voice," the FAQ page said. "Idaho will have a more important role with the caucus."