Idaho sees small shift in party affiliation ahead of primary

Idaho Governor Declines Debates Ahead Of Republican Primary
Otto Kitsinger - freelancer, FR171002 AP

FILE - Idaho Gov. Brad Little delivers his State of the State address inside the House Chambers at the state Capitol building, on Jan. 10, 2022, in Boise, Idaho. Little says he won't participate in debates heading into next month's Republican primary. Little's campaign in a news release Friday, April 15, 2022, says the governor's accomplishments in his first term "are non-debatable."

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Fewer than 10,000 of Idaho’s roughly 1 million registered voters switched their affiliation to Republican ahead of next week’s primary election, according to the Idaho Secretary of State’s office.

Idaho has long been a Republican stronghold. The Idaho Republican primary is closed, which means only registered Republicans are allowed to vote for GOP candidates.

From February 25 through March 18, there were 9,599 registered voters who switched to the Republican party in Idaho, Nampa television station KIVI-TV reported. The majority — nearly 6,200 — were unaffiliated voters before they switched. About 3,200 more switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. About 150 voters were registered as Libertarian or Constitution party members.

More than 300 voters switched to the Democratic Party.

Switching affiliation for closed primaries is common in states where one political party holds strong sway, said Charles Hunt, assistant professor of political science in Boise State University’s School of Public Service.

“Democrats might reasonably look at the landscape and say ‘Look, the only way my vote is ever going to have an impact in this election, really tangibly, is if I can vote in the primary,’” Hunt said.

Chief Deputy Secretary of State Chad Houck said there are about 300,000 unaffiliated voters statewide.

The roughly 9,600 voters who switched to the Republican Party don’t represent a huge change but still could have an impact in some of the tighter races, Houck said.

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