Howard Dean's 50-state strategy breathed critical life into Idaho's Democratic Party. Governor Dean, and the netroots, can be very pleased with what we did achieve there:
No one would blame Idaho Democrats for being depressed by the results and for deciding to quit looking for weaknesses in the monolithic state Republican machine. However, key Democrats aren't quitting. Challengers Larry Grant and Larry LaRocco have said that they are ready to run again. LaRocco has his eye on the U.S. Senate seat held by Larry Craig. Grant is interested in a rematch with Representative-elect Bill Sali. Democrats can find solace in this.
They can also find a moral victory in what they accomplished below the radar screen. They held Governor-elect Butch Otter accountable for the initial position he took in favor of selling public lands to raise money for hurricane disaster relief. LaRocco provided a service to the state in his race for lieutenant governor by asking tough questions of Gov. Jim Risch about his property tax reform. Together with unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brady, they formed a solid top of the ticket and energized other candidates and the Democrat base. As a result, Democrats were competitive albeit not successful.....
In a message on the 43rd State Blues blog, Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Richard Stallings noted how Democrats had closed the gap in the last three gubernatorial elections: "In 1998, it was a 38.6 percent blowout when Dirk Kempthorne beat Judge Robert Huntley. In 2002, Jerry Brady's first gubernatorial year, the margin narrowed to 12.6 percent. This year, we are down to a 9 percent split. In each election, Democrats have moved the ball down field."
When the netroots decided to jump into the Grant race in Idaho, we were in it to do precisely what we did do: force the GOP to spend a lot of money defending a seat that should not have been a worry for them. We ended up with a much more competitive contest than anyone expected, in some ways exceeding our goal and for that we can be rightfully proud. But more than that, we helped in the long haul for the rebuilding of Idaho's Democratic Party. That will happen on the strength of the candidacies of Larry Grant and former Congressman Larry LaRocco, and the vision of Howard Dean.