"Partisan politics have very little to do with small communities," Clark says, echoing Gretchen Driskell. "As you get more money from more taxpayers, you get involved with social issues, and then there's a difference. Now we're nominally Republican or Democrat, but we don't offer those services that have politics associated with them. We have fire and police but not social services.
"I've been engaged in local politics since the late 1980s," Clark continues, "and back then the theory was that out-county everybody ran as a Republican but nobody asked if you were one. It changed significantly in the 2004 election when the Democrats thought the only way to get rid of Bush was to vote straight party, and a whole lot of Republicans lost, including all but one member of my board. It was the great awakening to the fact that there was a Democratic presence in Scio. Last time, everybody ran as a Democrat, and in theory, they're all Democrats, but it doesn't really matter."
Though he was among the first to feel the political change wrought by Scio's growth--81 percent in twenty years, to 20,000 residents--Clark doesn't expect the entire west county to turn blue. "I don't think so, but where that [Republican-Democrat] line will be drawn, I don't know."