Friday, August 20, 2004

Dems raise $34,000 at Ketchum event

King uses celebrity to help raise money for Idaho Dems

Express Staff Writer

Singer Carole King, who resides in Custer County, belted out a few tunes Tuesday for a Democratic Party fundraising event at the Warm Springs Lodge in Ketchum. Photo by Willy Cook

Singer Carole King is working this fall to help turn the state of Idaho blue.

King lives along the banks of the Salmon River in Custer County near Clayton. Her adopted county is one of the most conservative jurisdictions in a very conservative state.

?If we can turn Custer County purple, we can turn Idaho blue,? she said in asking Blaine County residents to reach out and talk with their neighbors.

King has been stumping for the Idaho Democratic Party, primarily in Southern Idaho during the last month. After finishing her ?Living Room? music tour in the coming weeks, she said she plans to head to North Idaho to continue her effort before committing full time to the Kerry-Edwards campaign this fall.

?I went into the heartland, the places that aren?t necessarily blue,? she told a crowd of 500 at the Warm Springs Lodge in Ketchum on Tuesday, Aug. 17. ?People turned out in much greater numbers than expected.?

In Ketchum on Tuesday, the fundraising event raised nearly $34,000. Recent stops in Pocatello and Boise raised an additional $33,000.

During an interview before she took the stage, King stumped for Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry. She advocated for the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, an expansive wilderness bill that would simultaneously protect road-free areas throughout the West. She also focused on Idaho politics, saying, ?We need new ideas and new blood in the Legislature.?

Are her efforts paying off?

?The response has been overwhelming,? she said. ?In every event, there?s been a far greater turnout than expected, and it includes both Republicans and Independents.?

Her considerate approach, perhaps, is what has been paying off.

?Be respectful,? she said. ?That?s what I have been doing as I?ve been traveling around Idaho, and people have been responding. Listen to concerns re-gardless of party lines.?

Pamela Street, a life-long Sun Valley resident, said she is both a King fan and a Kerry-for-president fan.

?I think it?s important that people see there?s a big diversity of age groups,? Street said, referring to the event. ?People who usually don?t come to political events come because they like great music and they hear anything that?s said of interest.?

Idaho House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, has been working to fuel Democratic efforts throughout Idaho this election year. She said the money that King has helped raise would help several close races throughout the state.

?It?s great. It puts it up to where we can really be viable players. It?s going to make a difference, I think,? she said.

Jaquet said there are about eight races for Idaho House of Representatives seats and four for Idaho Senate seats that Democrats have a strong possibility of winning.

If Democrats pick up five seats in the House, they will win seats on additional committees. They are hoping for an additional seat on the powerful Reve-nue and Taxation committee, which sets the state budget.

Jaquet said the event was wonderful.

?I?ve always liked Carole King?s singing, and I love her enthusiasm. She speaks so much from the heart. I think people really related well to that.?

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