Idaho Democratic Party

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Idaho Democratic Party
ChairpersonFred Cornforth[1]
Senate Minority LeaderMichelle Stennett
House Minority LeaderIlana Rubel
HeadquartersBoise, Idaho
Membership (2021)145,479[2]
IdeologyModern liberalism
Political positionCenter to center-left
National affiliationDemocratic Party
Colors  Blue
Seats in the U.S. Senate
0 / 2
Seats in the United States House of Representatives
0 / 2
Seats in the Idaho Senate
7 / 35
Seats in the Idaho House of Representatives
12 / 70

The Idaho Democratic Party is the affiliate of the Democratic Party in the U.S. state of Idaho. Its chair is Fred Cornforth.[1]

While the party has been in the minority for most of the state's history, it has produced several notable public figures, including former U.S. senator Frank Church and former governor and secretary of the interior Cecil Andrus. Trade union support has traditionally been a key component of Democratic success in Idaho.[3]


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. The state became a Democratic stronghold for the next two decades.[4]

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 two-part Populist, one-part Republican.

It was not 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.[4]

Though Democrats and Jewish governor Moses Alexander were able to implement a radically progressive agenda with the backing of the Nonpartisan League while in control during Woodrow Wilson's presidency, they quickly ceded power and it was not 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.[4] 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.[4]

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.[4] 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.[5]

Since 1994, when four-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 nine 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.[5] 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.[6]

Elected officials[edit]

Members of Congress[edit]

  • None

Statewide offices[edit]

  • None

Legislative leadership[edit]

Chairs of IDDP[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Tribune. "Fred Cornforth named the new chairman of Idaho Democratic Party". The Lewiston Tribune. Retrieved 2021-08-09.
  2. ^ Winger, Richard. "March 2021 Ballot Access News Print Edition". Ballot Access News. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
  3. ^ "Idaho unions: A history of conflict". Post Register. 2014-12-04. Retrieved 2017-09-08.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Idaho Political Periods" (PDF). Boise, Idaho: Idaho State Historical Society. 1976. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  5. ^ a b "How Idaho Became A One Party State". Boise, Idaho: Boise State Public Radio. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  6. ^ "How right-wing emigrants conquered North Idaho". Paonia, Colorado: High Country News. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  7. ^ Tribune. "Fred Cornforth named the new chairman of Idaho Democratic Party". The Lewiston Tribune. Retrieved 2021-08-09.
  8. ^ "IDP elects new Party Chair, Van Beechler". Idaho Democratic Party. 2019-03-21. Retrieved 2019-03-24.
  9. ^ "Bert Marley: New IDP Chairman - Idaho Democratic Party". Idaho Democratic Party. 2015-08-01. Archived from the original on 2016-11-24. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  10. ^ "Larry Kenck, Idaho State Democratic chairman, will step down". idahostatesman. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  11. ^ "Keith Roark elected Idaho Democratic Party chairman | 43rd State Blues: Democracy for Idaho". Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  12. ^ "Election 2012: Larry Grant, Chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party - Idaho Democratic Party". Idaho Democratic Party. 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  13. ^ Prentice, George. "Same Name, Different Face: Two Larry's, One Democratic Party". Boise Weekly. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  14. ^ "Idaho Democratic Party selects Post Falls native as new chairman". Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  15. ^ release, Idaho Democratic Party press. "Bannock County Democrats to host Richard Stallings Banquet". Idaho State Journal. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  16. ^ "Richard Stallings Resigns as State Democratic Party Chair". Archived from the original on 2008-08-01.
  17. ^ Wayne Hoffman, Staff. “Voters to Have Lots of Choices in Primary.” Idaho Statesman, The (Boise, ID), 2002, p. 01.
  18. ^ Popkey, Dan. “Democrats See Frank Walker as Key to Rebuilding.” Idaho Statesman, The (Boise, ID), 2000, p. 01B.
  19. ^ "Moscow-Pullman Daily News - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  20. ^ "Moscow-Pullman Daily News - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  21. ^ "The Spokesman-Review - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  22. ^ "Mel Morgan's Obituary on Idaho State Journal". Idaho State Journal. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  23. ^ "Moscow-Pullman Daily News - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  24. ^ "Hillary Clinton announces her Idaho campaign leadership". idahostatesman. Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  25. ^ "Minnick A Populist Millionaire Ex-Nixon Aide, Ceo Comfortable On Top, Bottom Floors Of Factory". Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  26. ^ "Former IDP Chair Conley Ward Passed Away This Week". Idaho Democratic Party. 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2020-08-09.
  27. ^ a b c "When Gov. Evans wanted a new chairman, he got one (w/ video)". idahostatesman. Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  28. ^ "George Matthew Klein". The Lewiston Tribune. Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  29. ^ "About John F. Greenfield Law | John F. Greenfield Law Offices". Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  30. ^ "When a past Idaho governor wanted his own state party chairman, he got him..." Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  31. ^ "John F. Greenfield, Of Counsel". The Huntley Law Firm, PLLC. 2012-10-02. Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  32. ^ "Idaho Democratic Delegation 2008". Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  33. ^ Wickline, Michael. "ANONYMOUS FLIER RAISES SUSPICIONS". The Lewiston Tribune. Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  34. ^ "March 11, 2016 Press Release Hillary for Idaho Announces Leadership Council". Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  35. ^ "Idaho State Journal, Pocatello, Idaho, June 25, 1972, Page 2". Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  36. ^ "Lewiston Morning Tribune - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2021-10-10.

External links[edit]