Rural Oregon counties look to join more conservative Idaho

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An effort to move nearly two dozen of Oregon’s most rural counties into the more conservative neighboring state of Idaho has gained momentum – with five counties voting this week in favor of having local officials consider the issue, according to reports. 

The bid has been spearheaded by the Citizens of Greater Idaho, which wants to relocate between 18 and 22 Oregon counties to Idaho, according to FOX 12 in Portland. 

On Tuesday, Sherman, Lake, Grant, Baker and Malheur counties joined two others who voted in November in favor of discussing the issue.  

“The Oregon/Idaho border was established 161 years ago and is now outdated,” Citizens for Greater Idaho says on its website. “It makes no sense in its current location because it doesn’t match the location of the cultural divide in Oregon.

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The group says it also welcomes parts of southeastern Washington and northeastern California, which also tend to be more conservative than the rest of both of those left-leaning states, to join them.

The region around the Oregon-Idaho line.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, said he supports the measure but acknowledged there’s a long way to go toward making it a reality, The Oregonian reported. 

“I understand why many people want to be Idahoans,” Little said in a statement, according to FOX 12. “They’re looking at Idaho fondly because of our strong economy, regulatory atmosphere and our values. Still, the decision to change Idaho and Oregon’s borders would need to go through both states’ legislatures and the U.S. Congress for approval. There’s a lot that needs to happen before the border is within the realm of possibility.”

“They’re looking at Idaho fondly because of our strong economy, regulatory atmosphere and our values.” 

— Idaho Gov. Brad Little

Gov. Brad Little is seen March 25, 2020, in Boise, Idaho. (Getty Images)

Gov. Brad Little is seen March 25, 2020, in Boise, Idaho. (Getty Images)

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, has not publicly commented on the effort.

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“This election proves that rural Oregon wants out of Oregon,” Mike McCarter, president of Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho, said in a statement, The Oregonian reported. “If Oregon really believes in liberal values such as self-determination, the Legislature won’t hold our counties captive against our will. If we’re allowed to vote for which government officials we want, we should be allowed to vote for which government we want as well.”

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