Idahoans have usually voted Republican in presidential elections, but sometimes elect Democrats to Congress or the statehouse. The state has become increasingly Republican in the 21st century, however. The dominant Republican in the 20th century was US Senator William E. Borah, an isolationist-progressive who opposed US entry into the League of Nations but advocated world disarmament and supported prohibition, the graduated income tax, and some New Deal reforms; as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1924 to 1940, he was one of the most influential legislators in the nation.
One measure of the conservatism of Idaho voters in the 1960s and 1970s was the showing by George Wallace's American Independent Party in 1968 (12.6% of the total vote) and his American Party in 1972 (9.3%, the highest of any state). In 2000 Republican George W. Bush received 69% of the vote, while Democrat Al Gore won 28% and Reform Party candidate Patrick Buchanan captured 2%. In 2002 there were 679,535 registered voters; there is no party registration in the state. The state had four electoral votes in the 2000 presidential election.
A Democrat, Cecil Andrus, served four terms as governor, retiring in 1994. In winning the governor's office in November 1994, Republican Phil Batt ended 24 years of Democratic control of that office. He was succeeded by another Republican, Dirk Kempthorne, following the 1998 election; Kempthorne was reelected in 2002. In mid-2003, the state legislature had 28 Republicans and seven Democrats in the senate, and 54 Republicans and 16 Democrats in the house. In 2002 elections, Idaho voters again elected two Republicans to represent them in the US House. Its US senators, Larry Craig, reelected in 2002, and Mike Crapo, elected in 1998, are also Republicans.
Idaho Presidential Vote by Major Political Parties, 1948–2000
|YEAR||ELECTORAL VOTE||IDAHO WINNER||DEMOCRAT||REPUBLICAN|
|* Won US presidential election.|
|** Independent candidate Ross Perot received 130,395 votes in 1992 and 62,518 votes in 1996.|
|2000||4||*Bush, G. W. (R)||138,637||336,937|