Monday, October 3, 2022

Oregon, My Oregon

NYSun, Secession-Minded Voters in Oregon Upend State’s Gubernatorial Race. "A gubernatorial race that had leaned Democratic all summer is now considered a toss-up, and Oregon could elect its first GOP governor since 1982."

Oregon has, for years, been a mecca for political malcontents, everyone from anarchists to white supremacists to the rioters who carved out a “free protest zone” in downtown Portland and battled with police almost nightly during the summer of 2020’s social unrest.

While Portland has often dominated local, state, and national headlines for its political strife and disorder, the rural parts of the state have also seen no small measure of political alienation.

This alienation has fueled a growing movement among people who live on the eastern fringes of the state that want to break away from Oregon and become part of their more conservative neighbor, Idaho.

A spokesman for the Greater Idaho movement, as it is known, Matt McCaw, tells the Sun that he thinks the movement has mobilized many of Oregon’s more conservative voters in the eastern part of the state.

“People on the east side of the state see things very differently than people on the west side,” he said. “They make their living in a different way and see politics differently.”

To him, Oregon’s recent decriminalization of drugs — including heroin and cocaine — is indicative of the cultural divide driving the Greater Idaho movement.

So far, nine counties have voted in favor of looking into how exactly they would join Idaho, and another two counties are set to have referendums on the topic this November.

Mr. McCaw said that the movement is making some 400,000 eastern Oregonians more enthusiastic about politics, which is likely bad news for Ms. Kotek, given the state of the race.

With the Democratic and Republican nominees in a dead heat, the more conservative Greater Idaho vote could be in the unusual situation of playing kingmaker in the gubernatorial race of a state that they are trying to leave.

While I'm not betting on Republicans winning the Oregon governorship, or the 11 counties succeeding in seceding, I'm certainly rooting that way. Who know, maybe Sasquatch will cast the deciding votes.

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