Sure, Idaho’s voters haven’t picked a Democrat for president since Lyndon Johnson, who barely eked out a 51 percent majority here in 1964, and the last D to win Idaho before that was Harry S. Truman in 1948. But it’s not that anyone expects red-state Idaho to go blue for president in 2008. It’s something else that’s prompted Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to become the first presidential candidate of any party to open a campaign office here – it’s Idaho’s new role in the Democratic primary process.
Idaho’s primary election isn’t until May 27, when the nomination fights in both parties typically are long over. But Idaho Democrats select their presidential delegates in caucuses, not in the primary, and this year’s Idaho caucuses have been set for their earliest-ever date, Feb. 5th. That’s Feb 5th as in Super Tuesday, now known as Super-Duper Tuesday because it’s become so high-stakes. Twenty-one states will hold their Democratic primaries or caucuses that day, preceded only by the four earlies before that in January, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. And candidates want to point to wins that day. Thus, Obama’s got an office in Idaho, where the Illinois senator’s fans have been loudly supportive even before the campaign staff arrived. Read my full story here from The Spokesman-Review, and click here for a rundown on how Idaho’s caucuses work.