Idaho Democratic Party
|Senate leader||Michelle Stennett|
|House leader||John Rusche|
|National affiliation||Democratic Party|
|Seats in the Upper House||
6 / 35
|Seats in the Lower House||
11 / 70
The Idaho Democratic Party is the affiliate of the Democratic Party in the state of Idaho. Although the party has been in the minority for most of the state's history, it has produced several notable public figures, including the late U.S. Senator Frank Church and former governor and Secretary of the Interior Cecil Andrus.
Democratic strength in Idaho is concentrated in Blaine County and Pocatello, as well as parts of Boise and the Idaho Panhandle region. Trade union support has traditionally been a key component of Democratic success in Idaho.
Recent former party chairs include Richard Stallings, a former member of the United States House of Representatives from Idaho, Hailey attorney R. Keith Roark, and former U. S. House candidate Larry Grant. In August 2015 former state senator Bert Marley of McCammon became party chair, succeeding Larry Kenck of Post Falls, who resigned for health reasons.
In 2008 the Idaho Democratic Party won its first congressional race in 16 years when Walt Minnick defeated Republican incumbent Bill Sali in the state's First Congressional District. The party currently does not hold any major seats at the state or federal level. However, Boise Mayor David H. Bieter ranks as one of the state's better known Democrats.
- 1 History
- 2 Elected officials
- 3 2008 nominees for major offices
- 4 2010 nominees for major offices
- 5 2012 nominees for major offices
- 6 2014 nominees for major offices
- 7 2016 nominees for major offices
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Created in 1863 after the discovery of new mining territory, the early Idaho Territory was heavily populated by settlers from western Oregon, California and Nevada who supported a radical Republican agenda. However, towards the end of the war, Idaho became flooded with Confederate refugees from states like Missouri who voted, like the miners in Idaho, heavily Democratic. So much so that the state became a Democratic stronghold for the next two decades.
At the dawn of statehood, despite ceding Idaho almost entirely four years earlier to the Populists and Republicans (Cleveland won only 2 popular votes in 1892), a fusion Populist/Democratic ticket behind William Jennings Bryan's candidacy won the state with 78.1% of the vote with the support from Silver Republicans. Nevertheless, the three-man congressional delegation remained 2-part Populist, 1-part Republican.
It wasn't until the turn of the century that Idaho saw its first Democratic representation in Congress, Senator Fred Dubois, U.S. Marshal of the Idaho Territory and a former Republican. He successfully campaigned on the disenfranchisement of Mormons on the grounds that they broke the law by practicing polygamy, already having barred them form holding office while he held office in the state legislature. Ironically, while his anti-Mormonism as a Republican kept Democrats out of office after 1882, his anti-Mormonism as a Democrat had the same result after 1902.
Though Democrats and Jewish Governor Moses Alexander were able to implement a radically progressive agenda with the backing of the Non-Partisan League while in control during Woodrow Wilson's presidency, they quickly ceded power and it wasn't until Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1932 landslide that they began to turn out state and local (as well as national) Republican office holders for a sustained period of time. That year, all three congressional Republicans up for re-election were defeated by Democratic challengers by at least 11 percent. All three challengers, like their state party, were stalwart supporters of FDR's New Deal. Despite a turn of opinion against the federal government's programs years later, Democrats retained two of their three newly attained seats for at least 15 years and managed to control the legislature for eight until the chambers evened themselves out during and immediately after the war.
In the post-war decades, as state politics was professionalized, Republicans dominated the state legislature and the governor's mansion, but Democrats maintained a steadfast presence across all other executive offices. A platform of environmental concerns gave Idaho its last Democratic Governor to date even as it became more conservative in its congressional delegation and state legislature. However, in the 1970s and 1980s, Democrats lost two key voting groups. After the national party adopted a host of liberal social issues like abortion rights and feminism, Mormons left the party in droves. Meanwhile, unions lost influence in already declining mining and timber industries.
Since 1994, when 4-term Democratic Governor Cecil Andrus retired and Representative Larry LaRocco was defeated, only one member of the party, Walt Minnick, has won either statewide office or election to Congress. He was subsequently defeated by Republican Raul Labrador two years later. Idaho Democrats currently seat only 9 members of the House and 6 members of the Senate, slightly worse than the ~20% they held in each chamber in 1996 when the party first collapsed. Unlike with other Mountain West states, Nevada and Colorado among them, immigration has not shift Idaho leftward. Rather, Californians and other West Coast residents who have moved there have done so largely for cultural instead of economic reasons.
Members of Congress
2008 nominees for major offices
- United States Senate: Larry LaRocco
- United States House of Representatives, District 1: Walt Minnick
- United States House of Representatives, District 2: Debbie Holmes
2010 nominees for major offices
- United States Senate: Tom Sullivan
- United States House of Representatives, District 1: Walt Minnick
- United States House of Representatives, District 2: Mike Crawford
2012 nominees for major offices
- United States House of Representatives, District 1: Jimmy Farris
- United States House of Representatives, District 2: Nicole LeFavour
2014 nominees for major offices
- United States Senate: Nels Mitchell
- United States House of Representatives, District 1: Shirley Ringo
- United States House of Representatives, District 2: Richard Stallings
2016 nominees for major offices
- United States Senate: Jerry Sturgill
- United States House of Representatives, District 1: James Piotrowski
- United States House of Representatives, District 2: Jennifer Martinez
- IDP Chair Larry Kenck in the News, Looking to 2014 (accessed 23 June 2013)
- Keith Roark elected as new IDP Chairman Accessed 6 January 2008
- "Bert Marley: New IDP Chairman", Idaho Democratic Party, August 1, 2015. (accessed 15 August 2015)
- Dan Popkey: Otter disses Mayor Bieter - and his 198,638 constituents
- "Idaho Political Periods" (PDF). Boise, Idaho: Idaho State Historical Society. 1976. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
- "How Idaho Became A One Party State". Boise, Idaho: Boise State Public Radio. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
- "How right-wing emigrants conquered North Idaho". Paonia, Colorado: High Country News. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2017.