HELENA (AP) – The Republican Party, which declined a request by Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger to attend the party’s summer convention, is inviting him to the GOP winter meeting.
Bohlinger said he can’t attend because he is getting married in January and will be overseas on his honeymoon at the time. Otherwise, he said he would attend.
Bohlinger, who ran with Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer in 2004 on what was billed as a split ticket, was spurned by Republican officials when he asked this summer to attend the party’s convention.
At the time, Republicans said that Bohlinger asked to attend after the registration deadline. They also said they did not consider Bohlinger a Republican anymore and that it was not wise to give the competition a seat at the party’s strategy sessions.
But now, party chairman Erik Iverson says they want Bohlinger to attend the Montana Republican Party’s Winter Kickoff on Jan. 25-26.
Iverson pointed out that Bohlinger in June said we wanted to certify his Republican credentials. He said Republicans now agree, and want to hold a 90-minute question and answer session with Bohlinger quizzing him about policy differences they have with the administration.
“It is in this spirit that I’d like to personally extend you an invitation to participate in the Republican Party’s Winter Kickoff,” Iverson said.
Bohlinger said he does not question the sincerity of the request, and said he disputes any notion that he has switched sides to become a Democrat.
“I think of myself as a Republican and I don’t know how they kick people out. I’m still a Republican,” Bohlinger said.
Bohlinger, whose wife Bette Bohlinger died two years ago, will be marrying Karen Seiler on Jan. 12. He said the two will be going to China and other spots for a honeymoon through the end of January.
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