The Greater Idaho movement continued its winning streak in eastern Oregon for the fifth election cycle in a row by winning elections in Morrow County, where the town of Boardman is located, and Wheeler County. The movement aims to convince state legislatures to move the Oregon/Idaho border to make conservative counties of Oregon into counties of Idaho, which is a red state.
As of this morning, the state website shows Greater Idaho measures passing in Morrow County with 60% of the vote, [Updated to 61% on Nov. 15] and in Wheeler County with 58% of the vote [updated to 59% on Nov 16]. (May election results in all three counties that voted on the issue improved by four percentage points after election night due to the slow counting in Oregon elections and the tendency of proponents to vote on election day, according to greateridaho.org, the movement’s website).
The movement has already won elections in 11 of the 15 counties that are proposed to join Idaho, and says it has enough signatures to get on the ballot in Wallowa County. The movement says that it does not need votes in every county because these election results demonstrate to state legislators that any eastern Oregon county would approve Greater Idaho measures. County clerks have refused to allow the movement gather signatures in Crook and Gilliam counties, and county commissioners in Crook, Gilliam, and Umatilla counties have not yet agreed to put an advisory question regarding the issue on the ballot.
The movement seeks to get a resolution passed in the next sessions of both state legislatures that would invite discussions between state leaders on moving the border.
According to state website election results as of Wednesday morning, a proponent of [granting hearings for] Greater Idaho, Republican State Senator Kim Thatcher of western Oregon, won a blue district consisting mostly of areas that had not been a part of her previous legislative district. Meanwhile, the principal champion of the Greater Idaho movement in the Idaho Legislature, Rep. Barbara Ehardt, defeated a well-funded challenger in the urban district of Idaho Falls handily.
The leader of the movement, Mike McCarter said, “The voters of western Oregon overwhelmingly passed a ballot measure that will increase the power of the Democrat majority to run roughshod over objections by legislative minorities. This will prevent us from blocking the worst mistakes the Legislature has tried to make in the past, such as a carbon cap that would hobble eastern Oregon livelihoods. We are also disturbed that two very unconstitutional measures still look like they might pass. We call on the Legislature to let each half of the state go their separate ways in peace. If western Oregon doesn’t like the risk of being forced to accept the gubernatorial candidate it voted against, then it should simply stop holding our counties captive in this unhappy marriage. Actually, it’s not even as dramatic as a divorce because we’re not breaking up a family. Moving a state border is similar to redistricting a utility provider.”
McCarter said his movement will continue no matter who is elected governor: “Even if we elect a Republican governor, she will only be a temporary pause on the Leftward progress that the Democrat Legislature has been forcing.”
McCarter said he hopes that the Legislature would give the movement a hearing in December prior to the introduction of their resolution in January. “We’re the second-most successful county measure campaign in Oregon history, along with the 2nd-Amendment sanctuary county movement, and every candidate for governor has emphasized the importance of listening to the whole state.”