Friday, February 1, 2008

Critical day for Dems

For the first time ever, Idaho Democrats will have a chance to influence the party's nominee for the nation's president.

Next week on Super Tuesday, 24 states will hold nominating primary elections or caucuses, 14 more states than four years ago. Those include Idaho, which used to hold its Democratic caucus at a later date. (It's worth noting here that Idaho Republicans will not vote until spring.)

As the bluest county in a red state, Blaine County has a chance to be a key player when it helps allocate the votes of Idaho's 23 delegates to the national Democratic Convention in August—a kind of influence previously unheard of. Idaho's delegates could be critical because of the close race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Idaho Democrats will use caucuses around the state to allocate votes among the competing candidates.

Voters in small counties like Blaine understand that every vote makes a difference in that it's not unusual to have general election winners determined by a mere handful of votes.

Candidates to date have won just 14 percent of 4,049 delegate votes. A candidate will need 2,205 delegate votes to win the nomination, and Super Tuesday will move the process along in a great leap.

Blaine County Democrats will caucus at the Community Campus in Hailey on Tuesday beginning at 6:30 p.m., with doors closing at 7 p.m.

It's important for Democrats—and independents—to show up. The caucus setting will not be for the faint of heart or for anyone who doesn't enjoy political deal making. Everyone else should enjoy being part of grassroots democracy in action.

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