Oregon counties are voting to secede from their state

Oregon 2022 midterm election

(NewsNation) — Call it a cultural gap, partisan divide or the classic red versus blue, but a growing number of Oregonians from the eastern and central part of the state are looking for redder pastures in Idaho.

Two counties in Oregon voted to secede from their state and join Idaho this week, in a movement called “Greater Idaho.”

“It sends a message to the Oregon legislature that you have a problem in rural Oregon,” Mike McCarter, President, of Citizens for Greater Idaho said during an appearance Friday night on NewsNation’s “Banfield.” “And if you don’t want to deal with the problem, then let us go. We feel closer to those folks that are over in Idaho, and we’re willing. We want to join with them.”

“We feel there is a large gap between the rural and urban counties in Oregon, it’s getting broader all the time. This is not a new idea, it’s been talked about for a long time, where people in eastern Oregon have felt closer to the people in Idaho than they have to the people in northwest Oregon,” McCarter said five months ago while speaking on NewsNation’s affiliate KOIN five months ago,

Many feel that Idaho is a gem, and it’s the fastest growing state in the U.S. The answer as to why these Oregonians want to move to Idaho without actually moving to Idaho is mostly a financial one: lower taxes, a cheaper cost of living, similar politics and a more conservative lifestyle.

Changing the border would need the backing of both state legislatures and Congress. So far, Idaho’s governor hasn’t backed or rejected the idea:

“They’re looking at Idaho fondly because of our strong economy, regulatory atmosphere and our values. There’s a lot that needs to happen before moving the border is within the realm of possibility,” Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) said.

Moving state borders isn’t unheard of, but usually done on a smaller scale. In this proposal, 63% of Oregon’s land would become Idaho.

Organizers say the recent crime headlines out of Portland is not a reason behind their movement. Rather, it’s the population imbalance that critics argue gives liberal voices in the northwest part of the state too much power over rural areas.

“Right now the agenda that comes out of Salem is based on a majority of the population coming out of the valley, and most of rural Oregon’s issues are ignored.” McCarter said.

Votes are still being counted, but it looks like the measure has passed in both Morrow and Wheeler counties.

While the measure would take nearly two-thirds of Oregon’s land, it would only account for 10% of the state’s population.

Secession ideas are not exactly new in the United States. People in Maine and West Virginia know it can happen. The question becomes, should it happen?

Herald & News writer Mike Sunnucks also weighed in on “Banfield,” saying that redrawing state lines is not a good idea. “There’s not a lot of interest in any government to give up land, or give up people, voluntarily… Things could change. But this is not in Oregon’s best interest.”

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