Democrats are everywhere, even here in Canyon County

I often talk to Democrats in Canyon County who feel very alone in their political opinions. If you feel this way, I’m here to tell you that A LOT of Democrats live in Canyon County. 


As of September 3rd there were 10,333 registered Democrats in Canyon County according to the Secretary of State’s Website

You read that right – we have over 10,000 registered Democrats in Canyon County!

The number of registered Republicans is far higher, I know, but give me a second to explain why 10,000 registered Democrats in Canyon County is remarkable. 

Democrats don’t need to be registered as Democrats to participate in Democratic primaries. Democrats have “open primaries” in Idaho, which means anyone can participate in them regardless of their party registration. Republicans on the other hand, have held “closed primaries” in Idaho since 2012. Voters have to register as Republicans if they want to take part in the Republican primaries, and Democrats do not. 

Many people who regularly vote for Democrats are registered as “unaffiliated.” Idahoans are not required to pick a party affiliation and so tens of thousands of voters in Canyon County have registered as unaffiliated instead. Voters who registered a while ago were automatically registered as unaffiliated, because the registration form did not include the option to pick a party until July 2011. 

Democratic candidates have gotten far more votes than 10,000 in Canyon County. There are a lot of examples of this, but I’ll just give you one. In 2016 James Piotrowski ran for Congress as a Democrat and got over 21,000 votes! 

In summary, voters in Canyon County do not need to register as Democrats, and yet over 10,000 people have done so. That’s remarkable!

We don’t know exactly who–or even how many– Democrats there are, but elections indicate that at least one out of every three people you see in Canyon County is a Democrat. I’ll say it again: 


Let’s dispel the myth that there are no Democrats in Canyon County. Start talking out loud to others about the politics that are important to you, wear your Warren t-shirt with pride, put that Bernie bumper sticker on your car, and wear that Yang “MATH” hat out of the house. Let other people know who you are, you might be pleasantly surprised at the response. 

The important point is that if we do the organizing work we need to do, we can start winning elections in Canyon County. (Much more on this in future articles.) 

Elections: Thanks to those who “carried on”

by Judy Ferro

“There is only one redeeming thing about this whole election. It will be over at sundown, and let everybody pray that it’s not a tie, for we couldn’t go through with this thing again.” –Will Rogers-

                Part of me wishes Will Rogers was around to comment on today’s election, and part of me is glad the humorist has been spared the hostilities of our day.

As bad as the presidential race has been, however, Idaho’s Congressional and legislative races have not been noticeably more rancorous than in previous years. I like to think it’s because Idahoans are basically civil and more likely to say “Oh, honey, I’m sorry but I can’t vote for a Democrat,” than to utter threats.

It’s possible, however, that the civility results from Republicans’ confidence. Democrats have not polled well in Canyon County, but we’ve developed bonds not unlike those of Cubs’ fans. We know that, somewhere over the horizon, lies victory. Meanwhile, we keep a spotlight on important issues, strengthen centrists, and influence legislative priorities and policies.

I’m particularly thankful to candidates who, year after year, step up knowing that the odds are solidly against them. They offer voters a choice and present our message. To a person, they advocate for better schools, the rights and dignity of all, and preservation of our public lands. I especially appreciate the commitment of those who are “pro-life for the whole life” and advocate for all people.

I’m beholden to the core team of Democrats who develop the plans, slap on the address labels, make the phone calls, and get their friends out to vote.

This year I’m particularly appreciative of the 1,775 Canyon County Democrats who shared their enthusiasm and comradery at the caucus in March. Of course, it wouldn’t have been possible without the 100 volunteers who signed people in, took part in the program and the band, and counted the ballots.

I’m grateful for those who represented Canyon County at the state convention and helped develop and adopt a two-page platform expressing Democratic values.

I’m also thankful to many who aren’t Democrats. Idahoans of all parties helped inform the public by making candidate forums possible, publishing candidates’ answers to questionnaires, providing fact checking, and writing informative letters-to-the editor. I value the insights into Idahoans’ views provided by the polls of Dan Jones and Associates.

I appreciate the friends and families that have maintained civil relationships through the trying presidential campaign by explaining their opinions, honestly and without rancor, or simply replying with a shrug and a grin.

And I appreciate the trained corps of election workers who are working long hours at the polls today and tallying votes all through the night.

I’m proud of the Idahoans who’ve worked through the decades to make voting accessible by providing voter information and registration forms on-line, instituting same-day registration, and providing for automatic enfranchisement of felons who have served their sentences.

And I’m thankful for the individual citizens who’ve taken the time to weigh the issues, learn about the candidates, and vote for the down-ballot candidates as well as for president

History will look on the presidential election of 2016 as bitter and nasty; we can hope its record is never surpassed. Quite likely, the millions who continued to maintain our democracy by responsibly carrying out civic duties will not rate a mention.

If we are to heal, however, we must remember not the outrages that earned the headlines, but the countless citizens who carried on.

2C Dems: Message from Our New Chair

by Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln

Greetings to all! I am thrilled and honored to be the incoming chair for the 2C Dems.

I’ve lived in Canyon County all my life. I was born in Caldwell and grew up in Wilder on the family farm until returning to Caldwell to attend the College of Idaho. Now, a decade later, my fiancé Evangeline Beechler and I are making our home here.

As one raised in the GOP (the Gov. Batt variety), I’m grateful for the open arms and embrace of this party full of remarkable individuals that has quickly become like family.

As chair, I hope to build relationships with like-minded groups and individuals—showing them they have a place in this party. I want increase the party’s and its members’ involvement in the community so folks will see Democrats as contributing day by day.  And, of course, I hope to see more Democrats and progressives in elected positions locally and statewide.

I’m here and excited to put in the time, energy, and effort for the long haul, to help create a safe place with bountiful opportunities for all hard-working Canyon County residents.

I know Bob Solomon’s shoes are nothing short of impossible to fill. There are no words adequate to express the gratitude I have for his guidance, leadership, and friendship as chair of the Canyon County Democrats. My continued growth and development within our county party is largely in part to Bob’s nurturing, support, and gentle—but methodical—push. I know we will continue to benefit from his genuine passion for the beloved community we’re working to create in our county. I’m grateful for his wisdom and that of every member of the current and past central committees that have encouraged and supported me to step into new and challenging leadership roles.

I’m excited to work with you all, and look forward to what is on the horizon! Please feel free to call, text or email! 208.880.2363

Inspire. Impact. Empower.

2C Dems: Thank you to the Caucus Volunteers!

The 2016 Caucus brought an unprecedented 1775 Canyon County Democrats together. May the enthusiasm and spirit buoy us all as we do what we can for Democratic victories in November.

The Central Committee of the Canyon County Democrats would like to let thank each and every one who helped and congratulate them on contributing to an historic occasion that will not soon be forgotten. We cannot name all those who made a difference—many stepped forward spontaneously—but be assured that your help is appreciated.

Special thanks to the band that made the wait during registration a treat and to our emcees—Bob Solomon and Travis Manning.

Thanks to the many who spoke for their candidates with elegance and passion and to the all those who stepped forward to be delegates to the 2016 state convention.

Thanks to those that acted as supervisers—Kris Troxel, data management; Marinda Loyd, decorations; Brent Ferro, ushers; and Judy Ferro, volunteers.

Thanks to the young people who helped– Noah Easley, Jil Easley, Kelsey Ferro, Lexi Cleveland, Abigail Rodriguez, Kristina Goulart, and others.

Thanks to the legislative candidates who helped with voter and caucus registration– TR Loyd, Yadalia Yado, Warren Stevens, Pat Day Hartwell. Jeremy Lopett, Dr. Ed Savala, and Chelle Gluch.

Thanks to the many who helped with the sub-caucuses—John Sandmeyer, Jeff Hess, Alex Zamora, Les and Mary Peck, Chelsea Gaona Lincoln, Michael Angel, and others.

Special thanks to the brave souls that got everyone registered in less than two hours—Pat Day Hartwell, Malinda gunderson, Linda Hess, Nia Stevens, Sabrina Orihuela, Senna Antrim, Steven Farnsworth, Marcine Quenzer, Bob Otten, Rita Burns, Jared Lupton, Sheila Robinson, Patti Moylan, Rhonda Aman, and others.

Thanks to the core that worked from everything from soup to nuts—Roger and Judy Heinbach, Jenny Easley, Larry Dawson, and Betty Solomon.



Politics: Dems Caucus, That’s What They Do

by Judy Ferro

Canyon County’s Republican and Constitutional party members will vote at a special presidential primary at precinct polling sites between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8. In prior years these parties caucused or waited to vote in May primaries.

Democrats will caucus, as they have for decades. This year Canyon County Democrats will caucus at Sage Valley Middle School, 18070 Santa Ana, off of Ustick Rd. between Middleton and Midland Blvds. No one may enter after the counting and program begins at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 5:30 so everyone can be signed in to their candidate’s sub-caucus by that time.

Until 2012 Republicans voted for presidential candidates in the May primary; Democrats always caucused weeks before.

I attended my first caucus in 1968, after Lyndon B. Johnson stunned America by announcing he would not run for re-election. Robert F. Kennedy was the favorite in a field that included Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, and George McGovern.

The party stalwarts argued that we should send our delegates undeclared because that guaranteed they’d be courted by candidates at the national convention, and that’s what we did.

In 1976 every state seemed to have a favorite son in the Democratic race; the 14 candidates included Idaho Sen. Frank Church, Washington Sen. Henry Jackson. Arizona Rep. Morris Udall, and California Gov. Jerry Brown.

This time the party leaders wanted our first round vote to go for Church; other candidates would still court our delegates as the field narrowed. Newcomers, however, took the floor to argue passionately for former Alabama Governor Jimmy Carter. I didn’t want to trust our government to someone so inexperienced, but many wanted a candidate that got new people excited.

So, please, do not ask me why Idaho Democrats decided to caucus this year. It’s what we do. We’ve discussed changing to the new presidential primary, but there are complications that need addressed so, for now, we are sticking with a system that we know.

And that system did not change when Republicans decided voters should register their political party with the state. Democrats aren’t concerned with how you registered. We accept a signed statement that you are a Democrat and qualified to vote in Canyon County. It is requested that you do not participate if you took part in another party’s presidential nominating process.

Basically, there are two parts to the caucus: finding the number of delegates to be pledged to each candidate and electing those delegates. Your vote counts if you stay through the first part. Volunteers can provide rides and assistance for the handicapped. Caucuses do not, however, offer absentee ballots.

Caucusing does take time. There are introductory speeches. Then each sub-caucus elects a chair and a person to speak for its candidate. After the speeches, there is a chance to discuss and change your candidate.

And that is before those wanting to be among the 34 delegates to represent Canyon County at the state convention introduce themselves.

A caucus is not merely a vote; it is an event. Working with hundreds of Idaho Democrats can be exhilarating. Hearing newcomers, particularly young people, speak of why they are Democrats is inspiring. The process takes time, but it happens only once every four years.

Yes, presidential primaries may be in the future for Idaho Democrats. They are quicker for voters, and the state bears the cost. Soon our rank-and-file may, like others, have no idea where their state delegates come from and no chance of becoming one.

But many of us don’t relish giving up the equivalent of a home-cooked Thanksgiving feast for a TV dinner