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Greater Idaho: Rural conservatives in Oregon look to join Idaho

Some residents in Oregon are fed up with living under Democratic control of their state government and have launched a ballot initiative campaign to join Rep...

Posted: Feb 18, 2020 3:42 PM
Updated: Feb 18, 2020 5:40 PM

Some residents in Oregon are fed up with living under Democratic control of their state government and have launched a ballot initiative campaign to join Republican-led Idaho.

The movement, known as "Move Oregon's Border for a Greater Idaho," is hoping to expand the borders of the Gem State through the inclusion of more than a dozen bordering rural counties now in Oregon.


Credit: 'Move Oregon's Border for a Greater Idaho' / Facebook

Mike McCarter, chief petitioner of the movement says the group has gotten the "green light" in at least three Oregon counties -- Josephine, Douglas and Umatilla -- that would start the first step in the secession process, which would be collecting signatures to eventually end up on the November 2 ballot.

"Rural counties have become increasingly outraged by laws coming out of the Oregon Legislature that threaten our livelihoods, our industries, our wallet, our gun rights, and our values," Mike McCarter, one of the chief petitioners of the movement, wrote on the website for the Greater Idaho movement.

"We tried voting those legislators out, but rural Oregon is outnumbered and our voices are now ignored. This is our last resort," McCarter added.

Oregon's state government is under Democratic control, led by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown. Idaho's two-chamber state legislature are both controlled by Republicans and Gov. Brad Little is also a Republican. The growing tide of disgruntled conservative Oregonians is underscored by the recent power struggle Brown faced when House Republicans tried to remove her from office in 2019 following an acrimonious legislative session. Last year's legislative session included a standoff over a contentious cap and trade climate bill aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emission in a state known for its timber industry.


RELATED: Both petitions to recall Gov. Brown fail to get enough valid signatures


Brown's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The movement has support from some Republican lawmakers in Oregon's legislature.

"Oregon is largely controlled by one party that does not represent the entire state effectively, making the urban and rural divide striking," said Sen. Herman Baertschiger, the Republican leader in the state Senate who represents Josephine County, in an email to CNN.

"Democrats should be paying attention to how unhappy these Oregonians are with the current regime to seek secession from Oregon. I would welcome the idea to serve on the Greater Idaho legislature!"


RELATED: Oregon's Republican walkout ends, cap-and-trade bill 'dead' (2019)


Rep. Gary Leif, a Republican who represents Douglas County in the Oregon House of Representatives, supports residents leaving the state. Leif even has a poster of the "Greater Idaho" map in his office, which "people are loving," he said in an email to CNN.

"The Greater Idaho would then be the only West Coast state that is a conservative red coastal state. We would then truly be representing conservative values with rural constituents," Leif added. "I believe that Oregonians will support this to leave Oregon for Idaho. That is what happens when you get a super majority of either party in control."

In total, the Greater Idaho movement is looking to add roughly 20 conservative Oregon counties to Idaho, according to the campaign's website. The group cites economic advantages, religious liberty and infringements on residents Second Amendment rights as reasons behind their push.

McCarter also noted that the effort could "take two to three years" due to the complicated bureaucratic process involved in a secession, but said the movement ultimately is about signaling the unhappiness rural conservatives in Oregon have with the state legislature.

The grand plan for the movement also includes six northern counties in California, according to the Greater Idaho website.

A similar effort for conservative residents in Virginia counties to leave for West Virginia was recently supported by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice. West Virginia lawmakers have already started advancing legislation to allow Virginia counties to join their state.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 21010

Reported Deaths: 355
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah484994
Washington304725
Marion288370
Umatilla225128
Clackamas152340
Malheur76814
Deschutes59610
Lane5793
Jackson4612
Yamhill45013
Lincoln4149
Union3942
Jefferson3554
Morrow3543
Polk31312
Linn27710
Klamath2012
Wasco1893
Hood River1840
Benton1696
Douglas1501
Josephine1142
Columbia940
Coos910
Clatsop850
Crook471
Baker380
Tillamook340
Lake320
Wallowa191
Sherman160
Curry150
Harney100
Gilliam40
Grant40
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 554388

Reported Deaths: 10307
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2067784967
Riverside40452799
Orange39076720
San Bernardino35452502
San Diego31779586
Kern22626171
Fresno17031171
Alameda13213208
San Joaquin12303211
Santa Clara11475203
Sacramento10795161
Tulare10475196
Imperial9693244
Stanislaus9566161
Contra Costa9022138
Ventura814689
San Francisco743267
Santa Barbara670469
San Mateo6110120
Marin528779
Monterey521235
Merced501264
Kings445356
Solano402940
Sonoma343147
Madera230239
Placer218620
San Luis Obispo209315
Yolo169043
Santa Cruz12386
Butte10958
Napa104610
Sutter9217
El Dorado7291
San Benito7094
Lassen6380
Yuba5884
Shasta41810
Mendocino38010
Colusa3624
Glenn3603
Nevada3221
Humboldt2824
Tehama2761
Lake2202
Amador1642
Mono1531
Tuolumne1522
Calaveras1471
Del Norte990
Siskiyou930
Inyo643
Mariposa602
Plumas340
Modoc50
Trinity50
Sierra30
Alpine20
Unassigned00
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