Blue State County Wants Secession

( Another county in Oregon has submitted a petition that seeks to force an initiative to be placed on the 2023 ballot that would see the country move from Oregon — which is highly Democratic — over to Idaho — which is highly Republican.

Wallowa County became the latest region in eastern Oregon to join the Greater Idaho movement, which aims to “relocate the Oregon/Idaho border to make both states better.”

Matt McCaw, who is a spokesman for that organization, posted on the Greater Idaho movement website:

“Two major statewide ballot measures got 51% of the vote last month. That means eastern Oregon came within one percentage point of vetoing them. Western Oregon would be free of our interference if they stopped holding eastern Oregon captive and let our communities join Idaho.”

There are 12 counties now that have voted that they want to become part of the conservative Idaho. The new petition put forth would need to get the requisite signatures for the county clerk to advance it onto the ballot in Wallowa County for May of this year.

The Greater Idaho movement put forth the ballot measure, and 11 counties other than Wallowa is supporting it.

Simply having the ballot measure put forth — and even having county residents approve it — wouldn’t be enough to move counties from one state to another. The state legislatures of both Oregon and Idaho would need to work to approve it, as would the U.S. Congress.

This past November, in the midterm elections, Oregon elected Democrat Tina Kotek as its next governor. However, the race was quite tight, as she only defeated Republican challenger Christine Drazen by a small margin.

That led McCaw to say:

“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.

“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.”

There’s a big divide between western and eastern Oregon. In the west is the ultra-liberal city of Portland, as well as two major college towns — Eugene, home to the University of Oregon, and Corvallis, home to Oregon State University.

The eastern part of the state is much more rural and leans much further to the right politically. Many people who live there have similar beliefs, lifestyles and values to that of neighboring Idaho, especially compared to those who live in the western part of their same state.

McCaw described the two regions as having “two cultures,” pointing to how they feel about gun control as a prime example. He explained:

“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. 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 counties to be dictating policy to each other.”