A group of frustrated Oregon conservatives are moving to secede from the state over gun control and other Democratic policies, and to join neighboring Idaho instead.
Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho announced last Tuesday that they have received initial approval from two counties to begin collecting signatures for a ballot initiate to redraw their left-leaning state’s border with neighboring Idaho. If the group is successful, voters in the counties would see the question put to them in the November general election.
“Rural counties have become increasingly outraged by laws coming out of the Oregon Legislature that threaten our livelihoods, our industries, our wallet, our gun rights, and our values,” said a press release quoting the groups’ president, Mike McCarter of La Pine, Oregon. “We tried voting those legislators out, but rural Oregon is outnumbered and our voices are now ignored. This is our last resort.”
McCarter said the group also plans to file petitions in 17 of the state’s 36 other counties.
On Facebook, Move Oregon’s Border describes itself as proudly pro-Trump, and it takes particular issue with state Democrats’ regulation of guns and the environment. The group also alludes to future plans to include rural norther California counties in a “Greater Idaho.”
“This proposal presents options for Oregon and California to move their borders to put conservative counties on the other side of their borders to make Idaho bigger,” the page’s About section reads. “The majority party in the Oregon legislature is expected to be willing to let ‘Trump-voting, low-income counties’ to leave the state.”
“Most people in rural areas prefer Idaho law on guns, the environment, and cultural issues,” it continues.
FOX News! If you want this on your ballot, there are two ways:1. Ask your county commissioners to refer an advisory…
In Oregon’s Josephine County, the group’s ballot initiative would make it policy for the county to cooperate “with any state effort to move the Oregon/Idaho border, if any such effort develops,” according to the press release.
The Douglas County initiative would amend a 1997 ordinance to allow Douglas County commissioners to lobby Idaho officials on legislation, including toward “making this county a county of Idaho?”
Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho
Valerie Gottschalk, Move Oregon’s Border’s secretary and a resident of Selma, Oregon, said she hopes the proposal will gain the same kind of traction as an petition last summer to recall two-term Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat,
“I expect this movement to grow rapidly, having seen the response to the ‘Recall Kate’ petition circulated last year,” she said in the press release. “People here would prefer Idaho’s conservative governance to the progressive/liberal current Oregon governance. Every time I look at the Facebook group [Move Oregon’s Border for a] Greater Idaho, the group has gotten bigger.”
The efforts to oust Brown failed to get the necessary 280,000 signatures to force a vote. But Move Oregon’s Border only needs to collect about 2,400 signatures from Josephine County and about 3,000 from Douglas County to appear on the ballot, USA Today reported. The deadline is Aug. 5.
In addition to the governor’s residence, the Oregon House and Senate are controlled by Democrats. But in Idaho, the picture is reversed, with Republicans holding a governing trifecta. Most Oregon voters cast ballots for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016, whereas an even larger majority voted for President Donald Trump in Idaho.
Last year, Senate Republicans left the capital to protest a bill on greenhouse gas emissions.
For Move Oregon’s Border, expanding Greater Idaho to include parts of California is Step 2 of a grand plan. A map on the group’s Facebook page shows their envisioned state stretching from Yellowstone National Park to the Pacific Ocean.
“We are starting with county ballot initiatives first because we want to prove that, after the campaign this summer, ordinary voters in rural Oregon will show that they don’t want to be ruled from Salem anymore,” McCarter said in the release. “Convincing the state to let these counties go is the second step. And we believe that together, we can convince the state.”
- An illustrative image of a man carrying a gun./A map outlining Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho’s vision of their desired state.: Screen grabs