Ronny Reyes, Daily Mail, December 31, 2022
A county in eastern Oregon has submitted a petition to become the 12th to vote to leave the Democrat state and become part of conservative Idaho.
Wallowa County residents could see the choice presented to them in ballots this coming May as part of the Greater Idaho movement, which seeks to shift Republican-leaning counties in Oregon into the neighboring state.
Eleven eastern Oregon counties have voted in favor of this so far, with four other counties, including Wallowa, included in the proposal to move state lines.
Regardless of how residents vote, to actually change the states’ borders would require lawmakers in Oregon, Idaho and U.S. Congress to sign off on it.
In a statement regarding Wallowa’s petition, Greater Idaho spokesperson Matt McCaw said that Western Oregonians should be in favor of the split, referencing two separate statewide ballot measures that last month passed with 51 percent of the vote.
‘That means Eastern Oregon came within one percentage point of vetoing them,’ McCaw said. ‘Western Oregon would be free of our interference if they stopped holding Eastern Oregon captive and let our communities join Idaho.’
The push to split Oregon came amid a highly contested governor’s race, as it looked like the state was poised to elect its first Republican executive in 40 years.
However Republican nominee Christine Drazan, the GOP leader in the state House, fell short in her effort, against Democrat Tina Kotek.
Kotek, the state’s first openly gay woman to serve as speaker, will succeed outgoing Gov. Kate Brown, who has dismissed the Greater Idaho Movement and previous GOP attempts to recall her from office.
The leader of the Greater Idaho movement, Mike McCarter, said the close election demonstrated that the two sides of Oregon are getting in each other’s way.
‘If western Oregon doesn’t like the risk of being forced to accept the gubernatorial candidate it voted against, then it should simply stop holding our counties captive in this unhappy marriage,’ McCarter said.
‘Actually, it’s not even as dramatic as a divorce because we’re not breaking up a family. Moving a state border is similar to redistricting a utility provider,’ he added.
McCaw said it has grown increasingly apparent that east and west Oregon were too different places, and that while the dichotomy was also affecting the left’s ability to pass progressive laws.
‘If Oregon had let Harney County go when it voted for our measure, then a Harney County judge wouldn’t have blocked Oregon’s gun control initiative from going into effect statewide,’ McCaw pointed out. ‘Now his injunction might stand for a couple years while he decides the case.
‘Harney County is ranchland, and Portland is not. It doesn’t make sense for these two cultures to be dictating policy to each other.’
While Idaho Gov. Brad Little said he was sympathetic toward the Greater Idaho cause, he acknowledged that it wasn’t likely to go anywhere.
‘There’s a lot that needs to happen before moving the border is within the realm of possibility,’ Little said.
Although Republicans are poised to take over Congress in 2023, the ability to ultimately change the state borders would also need approval from Oregan lawmakers.