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Gem State voters choose between Romney, Obama

Associated Press Modified: November 6, 2012 at 4:46 pm •  Published: November 6, 2012

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho voters are getting ready to pick the next U.S. President, and if history is any guide, Gem State voters will side with Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

Idaho is among the reddest states in the nation, and its four electoral votes haven't been awarded to a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964.

Romney is a clear favorite for several reasons.

His candidacy has been championed by some of the state's GOP stalwarts, including Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, who served as Romney's state campaign chairman.

The former Massachusetts governor emerged as the winner in Idaho's first-ever Republican caucus held on Super Tuesday on March 6. Romney won big in the caucuses held in southern and eastern Idaho counties and a strong outpouring of support beat back a threat from Texas Congressman Ron Paul in the southwestern corner. By the end of the night, Romney had won 31 of the state's 44 counties. Romney is also member of The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints, a religion shared by a quarter of Idaho's population.

For Obama in 2012, Idaho never made the agenda for campaign visits.

Obama held a campaign rally in Boise in 2008 as he was trying to sew up the Democratic nomination, packing more than 16,000 people into Taco Bell Arena on the Boise State campus. But despite his popularity in so many other states in 2008, Obama won just 36.1 percent of the Idaho vote and topped Republican Sen. John McCain in just two counties — Blaine and Teton.

Romney, meanwhile, has made frequent visits to Idaho during the election cycle, mostly to attend fundraisers in cities like Boise, Ketchum and Idaho Falls. At a Sun Valley dinner in August, Romney got an official endorsement from Hollywood actor and director Clint Eastwood. About 325 people paid as much as $25,000 apiece to attend the event, held weeks before Eastwood's odd and rambling appearance at the Republican National Convention.


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