stronghold declared ‘Five
Star Republican County’
(AP)—Fresh from holding its biennial convention at the Sun Valley
Resort in Blaine County, the Idaho Republican Party has laid claim to
the Democratic stronghold and placed it in the upper echelon of the GOP.
statement, the party declared Blaine County a "Five Star Republican
County" for being one of "the best organized, most active and
most effective counties in the state."
Jason Bohrer said Blaine is only the second of Idaho’s 44 counties to
receive the designation. The other in what is arguably the most
Republican state in the nation is Canyon County, which has not elected a
Democrat to the Legislature since 1984 and has voted solidly Republicans
for Governor and president the past quarter century.
contrast, Blaine County has been electing Democrats to the state Senate
since the mid-1970s. Blaine County voters have supported Democrats for
governor for a generation and the last Republican they backed for
president was George H.W. Bush in 1988. The county was the only one in
the state to give Democratic Vice President Al Gore a majority in the
2000 presidential election.
local level, the GOP controlled six of the nine Blaine County offices in
the late 1980s, including a majority on the county commission. Today all
three commissioners, the prosecutor and assessor are Democrats.
month, Blaine County was one of only three in the state to see more
people cast votes in the Democratic primary than in the Republican. The
other two were Shoshone and Benewah in the Panhandle.
to the GOP, a Five Star Republican County is determined by the
"record of all its activities, its leadership and precinct
organization and its history of events such as Meet the Candidate days.
Other requirements are having an active and ongoing campaign to write
letters to the editor to inform the newspapers of Republican points of
instrumental in securing Blaine County its distinguished position within
the GOP hierarchy was Sun Valley City Councilman Latham Williams, 40,
who ran for state treasurer as a member of the Reform Party in 1998.
in Blaine County have taken the initiative," Williams said.
"We’re not going to let the other party coast through here
defeated Idaho Falls loyalist Sheila Olsen and Pocatello businessman
Paul Clark at the convention to become the party’s first vice
only one county left," said House Speaker Bruce Newcomb, who
nominated Williams. "It’s time to take it over."
Williams downplayed the Democratic stronghold concept.
easier being a Republican in Blaine County than it was at
Berkeley," Williams, a University of California-Berkeley graduate,
told the Post Register.