- Harney County became the eighth Oregon county to express interest in the "Greater Idaho" movement.
- The movement seeks to move rural, conservative counties from Oregon to Idaho.
- The effort is led by a group that says Idaho's values align better with rural Oregon.
Harney County became the latest Oregon county to express interest in joining the "Greater Idaho" movement, an effort to secede from Democratic-leaning Oregon and join conservative Idaho.
On Tuesday, a measure that would require local officials to hold meetings about the idea passed, with 63% of the vote in favor, according to the early results.
Seven other Oregon counties have previously voted in favor of exploring the move: Lake, Grant, Baker, Malheur, Union, Sherman, and Jefferson.
"Rural Oregon is declaring as loudly as it can that it does not consent to being misgoverned by Oregon's leadership and chooses to be governed as part of a state that understands rural Oregon's values and way of making a living," Mike McCarter, president of the group behind the Greater Idaho movement, said Wednesday in a statement provided to Insider. "We call on the Oregon Legislature to not dare to hold these counties captive."
Organizers behind the movement say Oregon's government does not represent the conservative values of much of the state and that none of the Democrats in the state Legislature represent a rural area.
"Oregon will continue to violate more and more American values and American freedoms because normal rural Americans are outnumbered in Oregon. Not in Idaho," the group's website reads.
President Joe Biden won Oregon in the 2020 election, largely driven by heavily populated counties near Portland, Eugene, and Bend. Of the state's 26 counties, 16 voted for President Donald Trump, including the eight counties that are now exploring seceding from the state. Many of the counties that voted for Trump are sparsely populated, altogether making up around 30% of the state's population.
Meanwhile, neighboring Idaho was a decisive victory for Trump, who won 64% of votes in the state.
Greater Idaho organizers argued the proposal would be a win for all parties, including liberal counties in Oregon that would "be free of 'low-income, Trump-voting counties,'" and Idaho which would no longer be land-locked.
The Greater Idaho movement is a longshot but not impossible, experts previously told Insider. It would require the approval of both Oregon and Idaho state legislatures, as well as the US Congress.
Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at [email protected].