Politics likely to become harder for Idaho Democrats

Idaho StatesmanApril 18, 2011 

Even with an equal partisan split on the Redistricting Commission that will remap legislative districts for 2012-2020, Democrats have the most to lose.

“Some of these districts that are currently Democratic are going to become marginal districts,” Boise State political scientist Gary Moncrief said at a workshop at the Statehouse Saturday.

In the 2000s, Idaho grew by about 273,000 people, or 21 percent — the fourth-fastest rate in the country. Newcomers flocked to conservative areas, including western Ada County and Canyon County. Almost three-quarters of the growth came in just four of 44 counties: Ada (92,000), Canyon (57,000), Kootenai (30,000) and Bonneville (22,000).

Treasure Valley suburbs — populated by newcomers who fled less conservative places like California for communities like Meridian, Kuna, Eagle and Nampa — will gain clout. Boise will lose power, as will rural Idaho, where seven counties lost population in the 2010 census.

Idaho Democrats now hold 20 of 105 seats, the second-smallest minority legislative showing in the country, behind Wyoming’s Democrats. Setting aside candidates and issues, population shifts look to make the GOP majority bigger.

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