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Posts published in “Day: September 16, 2007”

Seven or eight

Susan Morgan

Susan Morgan

There's some ambiguity about whether Representative Donna Nelson should be counted as an opt-out for another term in the Oregon House. Depending on how you count her, the current number of dropouts from the House Republican caucus of 29, so far, is either seven or eight - about a quarter.

The latest to announce, this last week, was Susan Morgan of Myrtle Creek, who has five terms in the House.

That seat probably is not in partisan jeopardy: Her Roseburg-based district (many of the people in it live near I-5 around Roseburg south to Canyonville and beyond) votes strongly Republican. And a replacement, Roseburg City Councilor Tim Freeman, is already lining up to replace her.

But open seats even like this one are more effort to deal with than are safe incumbent seats. So you can understand what lies behind the comment when a House Republican spokesman was asked by the Oregonian about the prospect of further retirements, and responded, "God, I hope not."

Californication

Great line today in a social perspective piece in the Twin Falls Times News, about the arrival and impact of people moving from California to Idaho (with some special note about the Magic Valley).

This comment jumped out: "Walk into any rural coffee shop in southern Idaho and you're likely to find a table or two of seed-capped farmers complaining about Californians liberalizing Idaho politics."

A nice insight, there, in terms of the run of conversation in the area: No doubt that notion, that all these California newcomers showing up in Idaho, are bringing liberal ideas and politics to the area, does crop up in many coffee shop discussions.

The writer is wise enough not to let the matter go at that, accurately pointing out that the evidence of political change in Idaho in the last couple of decades is toward conservative Republican. (The only place anywhere near the Magic Valley to the contrary is in the Ketchum-Hailey area.) And concludes, "In short, conservative Californians are moving to Idaho to be near like-minded people."

Our take as well, matched up in reverse in the Seattle and Portland metro areas, which seem to have been drawing more liberal California expatriates - partly on the basis of the reputations of those places.

But the rural coffee shop attitudes may have their impacts: They discourage any sense of complacency, and ramp up concern about the outside world - and make the state, even apart from the effect of the newcomers, more conservative purely among those who were there to begin with.

That coffee shop comment, which sounds at least spot on, is worth some thought.