Residents Flee West Coast, Creating Surprising Effect on Politics

Photo by Alden Skeie on Unsplash

( – Almost 30 years after the early 1990s internal migration from California and the West Coast to North Idaho, people in the area continue to criticize those who are trying to make a new home in their state. Surprisingly though, it is often the newly migrated previous residents of the West Coast that are the biggest critics of the new residents. 

Nick Kostenborder, who had made the move to Sandpoint from Portland in 2021 joked that as soon as they had signed their mortgage they had said “’ No more Oregonians. Build the wall.’” However, on a more serious note, he said that he understood the concerns of the locals over being suspicious of newcomers. He added that he had thought that he would prove to them that he was not in the area to turn it into Portland. 

Recent census data has shown that Idaho is one of the fastest-growing states in the U.S. and that the increase is not the result of a high number of births, but rather of West Coast movers. The increase in population has also resulted in a housing shortage and prices soaring. This has resulted in conservative Idahoans being worried that those who have just arrived in the state might want to bring with them more liberal policies. 

However, voter registration data has shown that this does not have to be a concern and that if anything, the state was growing to be more Republican. 

Bonner County Commissioner Luke Omodt had stated that there was no political change and that the state was turning redder. An analysis of the voters who moved from 2023 shows that the majority, 75 percent, were Republicans while 10 percent were Democrats. 

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