by Andrew Crisp
Seated behind a long table scattered with bright blue “Obama 2012” buttons, stickers and clothing, Anne Sabin said she was selling “a lot of everything” at the Ada County Democratic Presidential Caucus. She pointed to a button that read “Being Nice is a Really Good Thing,” a softer take on politics made more glaring
“The witty but not snarky ones are popular,” she said.
The differences between the Democrat and Republican caucuses were glaring. The Democrats’ early morning caucus proceedings, held in the Morrison Center, netted little more than 1,300 voters. The huge, chaotic event held by Republicans at Taco Bell Arena on March 5 drew 9,000.
“I don’t think turnout necessarily indicates support,” said Boise City councilman T.J. Thomson. “There were no outliers, nobody jumped on the ballot at the last minute.”
He gave the speech introducing the de-facto Democratic candidate, President Barack Obama. While he stepped onto stage, a cardboard cutout of Obama was placed near the podium. The crowd cheered enthusiastically throughout the morning, particularly through a new campaign promotion for Obama narrated by actor Tom Hanks.
“I mean, we’re not gonna take Idaho, but it’s good to have a strong voice to send back to Washington,” said Thomson.
Obama won the nomination easily, having no challenger. A group of nine “uncommitted” were winnowed to seven after a second round of voting. Colleen Fellows with the Ada County Democrats asked the room to capitalize on the momentum of the 2008 election.
“Money is a part of politics, as much as we wish it weren’t. We need to do good fundraising to make sure no seat is lost by seven votes,” she said.
She was referring to a recent election with Boise Democratic Rep. hopeful Janie Ward-Engelking.
“I lost by 100 votes,” said former Boise Democratic Rep. Branden Durst.
He’s running again for the Idaho Legislature in the next election cycle. He suggested that while the Republican and Democratic candidates for president will vie for the office on a national level, Democrats can still take positions in Ada County.
“Politics are still decided on a local level,” he said. “We’re feeling confident that if we implement our plan, we can take it.”