Idaho’s Democratic Party elected a new party chairman over the weekend. Former state senator Bert Marley of McCammon will lead the minority party, after former chairman Larry Kenck stepped down, citing health reasons.
Marley says he’s excited and honored to serve his party. He beat one other candidate - party spokesperson Dean Ferguson - in an election held by party leaders Saturday.
The 67-year-old former state senator says getting Idaho Democrats to be competitive is the big challenge in a state so dominated by Republicans. No Democrats who hold statewide office, and 80 percent of the legislature is GOP.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction and I think we’re going to see growth," says Marley. "Are we going to elect four or five statewide candidates in 2018? No. But I think we might elect one or two.”
Last November was a disappointing time for Democrats. But Marley thinks there’s reason for optimism.
“I think one of the good signs is there’s a lot of enthusiasm, and the feeling that we’re on the right track,” he says.
Marley says more young Democrats are voting in Idaho, and more people are willing to donate their time and money to the party. He hopes that can translate to wins in 2016 and 2018.
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