Idaho Democratic Party

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Democrats filed a complaint in October alleging an official with the Idaho Republican Party violated the state’s campaign laws. Since then, the Secretary of State’s office looked at the issue – and says no wrongdoing occurred.

Otto Kitsinger / AP Images

There’s no way around it – November 8 was a rough day for Idaho Democrats. The red state went even redder, as Republicans picked up four seats in the Legislature, including the one held by House Minority Leader John Rusche.

To Idaho Democratic Party Executive Director Sally Boynton Brown, the election was a turning point for progressives – both on the national and state level.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Secretary of State Denney
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Secretary of State's office says the Idaho Republican Party did not violate the state's campaign laws while creating a political attack ad against House Minority Leader John Rusche.

The decision refutes a complaint filed by the Idaho Democratic Party in October. Democratic officials alleged that Idaho Republican Party Executive Director David Johnston illegally coordinated with GOP candidate Mike Kingsley's campaign in creating a political attack ad against Rusche using funds from an independent expenditure.

All of Idaho’s legislative seats were up for grabs in Tuesday's election. The Legislature already leans heavily Republican and after votes were counted, it became even more so.

A handful of Democratic seats turned Republican. In some of those, long-time Democratic incumbents lost their seats. Other, formerly Democratic seats that were open, turned GOP.

Idaho Democrats Suffer Legislative Losses

Nov 9, 2016
State of Idaho

Idaho Democrats suffered some stinging losses in Tuesday’s legislative races. Moscow Rep. Dan Schmidt failed in his bid for reelection, as did Lewiston Democrat John Rusche. Rusche was House minority leader for eight years before losing to Republican Mike Kingsley.

Assistant House Minority Leader, Matt Erpelding, a Boise Democrat, says the loss means a change in the dynamic of the leadership team in the statehouse.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr

Following news that the Idaho Republican Party had opened three field offices in traditional Democratic strongholds like Blaine County and that the GOP planned to open more, Democrats pointed out they'd also sent out operatives. Dean Ferguson with Idaho’s Democratic Party says state Democratic leaders started sending out field organizers in February and now have seven assigned in key legislative districts.

Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio/ StateImpact Idaho

Idaho only has a handful of competitive legislative races in the upcoming general election, but party officials on both sides are prepping for heated battles in key legislative districts across the state.

The state's Republican Party recently announced the launch of field offices in Lewiston, Moscow and Blaine County, some of the most strongly Democratic places in this super-majority Republican state. 

Idaho GOP executive director David Johnston says there are parts of Idaho his party will win without much effort. But others, he says, will be a fight.

Idaho Democratic Party / Facebook

The March Democratic presidential caucus saw a record-breaking turnout. About 24,000 people made their voices heard around the state – including an overwhelming 9,000 in Boise. But long lines and confusion about the process caused some people to leave the caucus before they had a chance to vote.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

Idaho Democrats kick off their 2016 state party convention Thursday. It runs through Saturday. Party leaders expect nearly 400 delegates at the Riverside Hotel in Garden City.

The itinerary includes training sessions for candidates and activists and updating the party platform. Idaho Democratic Party spokesman Dean Ferguson says there are a lot of platform changes being proposed but most are tweaks to language in existing planks. Ferguson says one significant change that may be made is calling for a specific increase to the state’s minimum wage.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho finished picking candidates for the Presidential election last week. Now politics watchers are turning their eyes to the state’s May 17 primary election.

The filing deadline for candidates for the Idaho Legislature came and went two weeks ago.

Gary Moncrief is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Boise State, and studies legislatures across the country. Moncrief is the co-author the book “Why States Matter.”

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

People stood for hours Tuesday in a line that snaked around several blocks of downtown Boise for a chance to take part in the Idaho Democratic Caucuses. In Bannock County, party faithfuls stood outside in a snowstorm, waiting for their chance. In many parts of Idaho, the caucus system was overwhelmed by an enthusiastic turnout.

Caucuses across the state were expected to close the doors at 7 p.m. Mountain Time. But the line in downtown Boise had already wrapped around three city blocks an hour before the event was supposed to begin, forcing the delay.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

Idaho Democrats caucused at locations around the state Tuesday night. The busiest venues were in Boise, where Democrats started voting more than two hours late due to long lines to get in.

Dominick Nicholes was among those who waited for hours outside a downtown arena and a large conference center. He was there to support Bernie Sanders. Nicholes thinks Sanders can fix the problems with the nation’s health care system and a lot of other problems he sees as well.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Democrats will caucus Tuesday night at 40 locations around Idaho. In order to participate, people cannot have voted in Idaho’s Republican or Constitution Party primary earlier this month and they have to be willing to sign a paper saying they consider themselves Democrats.

The Idaho Democratic Party wants people to show up between 5:00 and 6:00 at their caucus locations. The state party website says doors will close promptly at 7:00 MT (6:00 PT) and no one will be admitted after that.

Idaho Democratic Party

Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney has agreed to change the wording of 22 billboards around the state, a move that is being applauded by the Idaho Democratic Party (IDP).

Idaho Democratic Party

Idaho Democrats say billboards advertising the date of the state's Republican and Constitutional Party presidential primaries are misleading. The billboards specify in red letters "Presidential Primary March 8." But that date only applies to registered Republicans, since Democrats still plan to caucus for presidential candidates on March 22.

Idaho Democratic Party

Leaders of Idaho’s Democratic Party picked their next chairman Saturday. Bert Marley of McCammon replaces Larry Kenck, who resigned earlier this year for health reasons.

Marley, 67, is a former teacher and state lawmaker. He lost the lieutenant governor’s race last fall by 30 percentage points.  Democrats, in fact, lost all five statewide races. 

Marley spoke to KBSX’s Scott Graf Wednesday.  

Q: Considering the party’s recent struggles, what interested you in this job?