This morning I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Larry LaRocco, a former Congressman and candidate for U.S. Senate in Idaho. Idaho isn't exactly a Democratic stronghold and he faces an uphill struggle to beat either incumbent GOP Senator Larry Craig or whoever they throw at LaRocco, should Craig retire. He's going to need all of the help he can get.
Why should Blue Oregonians care about our neighbors to the east?
First, LaRocco can win and Democratic pickups in 2008 can help turn our slim majority to a strong majority. The victories of Jon Tester in Montana and Ken Salazar in Colorado show that the Mountain West is turning Blue. There have been some promising indicators in Idaho. In 2006, Democratic challengers beat six incumbent Republicans in the State House and the Democratic challenger came within 5% of beating the incumbent Republican in Idaho's First Congressional District.
LaRocco is a veteran, small business owner and innovative campaigner. He recognizes the importance of the netroots and plans to actively use to the internet to generate nationwide support. McJoan of Daily Kos wrote that LaRocco's candidacy is "a huge step forward for the Idaho netroots--a statewide candidate who recognizes the potential for using this medium." Read her report on his announcement from a few months ago here.
Second, LaRocco is a quasi-Oregonian, although I wouldn't recommend repeating that to Idaho voters. He and his wife are graduates of the University of Portland and he ran Frank Church's winning primary campaign in Oregon in 1976.
Obviously, we'll have a big Senate race here in Oregon in 2008 and we have a great candidate to run against Gordon Smith but we all can do three small things to help Larry LaRocco...
Tell family and friends in Idaho about the campaign.
And keep your ears open - LaRocco will most likely be back in Portland in a few months for a fundraising event. Don't miss this opportunity to meet and help a kind, passionate public servant.