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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: 42101

Reported Deaths: 653
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9137160
Marion5819108
Washington573975
Umatilla334944
Clackamas309765
Lane235427
Malheur191538
Jackson16696
Deschutes112313
Yamhill98715
Linn80315
Polk65015
Jefferson6049
Morrow5456
Lincoln51713
Union4662
Benton4416
Klamath4103
Douglas3495
Wasco34715
Hood River2771
Josephine2673
Columbia2591
Clatsop2420
Coos2380
Baker1203
Crook1072
Tillamook700
Curry571
Wallowa442
Lake350
Harney230
Sherman180
Gilliam110
Grant110
Wheeler10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 906596

Reported Deaths: 17358
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2997606993
Riverside659021279
San Bernardino626191072
Orange585731447
San Diego54583870
Kern33813416
Fresno30752436
Sacramento25372484
Santa Clara24144388
Alameda23312461
San Joaquin21630489
Contra Costa18621241
Stanislaus17629396
Tulare17495286
Ventura14240164
Imperial12700336
San Francisco12103140
Monterey1137291
San Mateo11075159
Santa Barbara9781120
Merced9465155
Sonoma9312136
Kings822883
Solano728674
Marin7074128
Madera498174
San Luis Obispo414132
Placer409357
Yolo319159
Butte307852
Santa Cruz278825
Napa195715
Shasta187830
Sutter183712
San Benito143715
El Dorado13174
Yuba129310
Mendocino112721
Tehama8728
Lassen7661
Lake69615
Glenn6573
Nevada6088
Humboldt5629
Colusa5506
Calaveras34218
Amador32816
Tuolumne2694
Inyo22715
Siskiyou1930
Mono1802
Del Norte1781
Mariposa782
Plumas680
Modoc290
Trinity250
Sierra60
Alpine30
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