No Surprise: Idaho voters pick Romney over Obama

No Surprise: Idaho voters pick Romney over Obama
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets campaign workers during a visit to a voter call center in Green Tree, Pa., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Voters in the Republican stronghold of Idaho picked Republican Mitt Romney by a large margin over Democrat Barack Obama in the race for U.S. President.

The result is hardly a surprise in a state that hasn't approved of putting a Democrat in the White House since 1964 and the popularity of Romney and the backing he got from top Idaho GOP officials. 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.

Obama paid a visit to Boise in 2008 in his bid to win the Democratic nomination. But given the unpopularity in Idaho of the health care overhaul and disagreements over federal spending, Idaho never made the Obama agenda of states to visit this election cycle.

Romney, meanwhile, has made frequent visits to Idaho during the campaign season, 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.

The AP made the election call for Romney based on exit polling.