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Idaho Democrats Expand Caucus Sites Due to Surge in Interest

The Idaho Democratic caucus is Tuesday night, and venues have been added around the state to accommodate a surge in interest. (vepar5/iStockphotos
The Idaho Democratic caucus is Tuesday night, and venues have been added around the state to accommodate a surge in interest. (vepar5/iStockphotos
March 21, 2016

BOISE, Idaho - The Idaho Democratic Caucus is tomorrow night, and the party has had such a huge surge in interest, several locations have had to switch or add venues to accommodate the anticipated crowds.

In Ada County, the caucus will still be at the Boise Centre on the Grove, but a second site has been added just across the Grove Plaza at the Idaho Steelheads' hockey rink to accommodate 10,000 to 12,000 people.

In the Coeur d'Alene area, the caucus will now be held at both North Idaho College and the Kootenai County Fairgrounds.

Bannock County Democratic Caucus Chair Linda Leeuwrik says 21,000 Idahoans showed up to caucus in 2008 when then-Senator Barack Obama first ran.

They expect to match or exceed that this year.

"This is a big year," says Leeuwrik. "Interest has just skyrocketed, really 2008 was a huge year, and we were at Idaho State University, but it's proving not to be big enough."

The Bannock County caucus has just been moved from ISU in Pocatello to the Shoshone-Bannock Event Center at Fort Hall, which holds 2,000 people.

Leeuwrik says there will be buses to take people who show up at ISU to the new location.

In all, there are 40 caucuses planned, with only a few counties combining locations; Minidoka and Cassia counties are holding their separate caucuses side by side, in the same location.

Bear Lake and Caribou counties are doing the same. Leeuwrik says the recent visits from Bernie Sanders and from a Clinton surrogate, ice skater Michelle Kwan, have really heightened interest.

"Democrats are coming out of the woodwork," she says. "The idea that we used to have 'dark' counties in southeast Idaho I think all of that is changing."

The Idaho Democratic Caucus is open to registered voters from all parties.

For detailed caucus information, look online at

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - ID