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Eye On Boise

Sat., June 14, 2008, 6:57 p.m.

Idaho Democrats wrap up ‘love fest’

As the Idaho state Democratic Party convention drew to a close, state party chairman Keith Roark said, “This is as close to a love-fest as it ever gets for Democrats.” Though some delegates came to the convention supporting Hillary Clinton, the vast majority were backing Barack Obama, the winning nominee, and the two sides got along through raucous delegate elections and heartfelt platform debates. “Even though we have the Clinton-Obama split, people were incredibly cordial,” Roark said. “We’ve been known to have our scrapes and scraps, but this was absolutely without hitch.”

Roark said the convention saw unprecedented participation and enthusiasm, particularly from young people. “I haven’t seen this many young faces in a state convention since I was in Utah in 1972,” he said. “That’s what’s really encouraging to me.” The next challenge for Idaho Democrats, who hold only a small minority of elected positions in the state, is organization, he said. “What’s next for us is to try to take this enthusiasm, take these new people and turn them into campaign assets, and that means people who will knock on doors, man phone banks, help us maintain our voter file, people who will talk to their neighbors. That’s an area where the Republicans have done far better than us.” He said, “We’ve got more people telling us right now they want to work than we’ve ever had before.” Turning that into greater success for Democrats in Idaho, he said, will take “organization, organization, organization. That’s what it comes down to.”

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Eye On Boise

Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.