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ID: A Pocatello shocker, non-surprises elsewhere

So far as we can see, there’s one big shocker in Idaho elections today: Two-term Pocatello Mayor Roger Chase ousted by newcomer Brian Blad. The margin was around 53%-47% – not large, but enough to decide.

That we didn’t see coming. On a recent visit to Pocatello, the word from local political people was consistent: It’s a quiet nothing of a race, Chase will cruise to a third term. So much for assumptions. So also, add Pocatello to the collection of Northwest cities (Seattle, Vancouver) where multi-term, established mayors who seemed a lock this year . . . weren’t.

As to why: Generalized dissatisfaction, maybe? Turnout was very small, and the critics often are disproportionately represented in such elections, and that may have been critical. More to come on this.

But fewer surprises elsewhere.

We’d figured that in some of the hottest race of the day in Idaho – that for the Boise city council, which tells you something – the de facto incumbent slate (including newcomer T.J. Thomson, who’s aligned with the mayor and the incumbents) would prevail. And they pretty clearly have.

Holding true to the frustrating tradition of slow vote counting (voters in Washington state don’t even have to mail their ballots till election day, and counting doesn’t start for an hour later, but Ada County is still way behind them), barely a third of Boise city’s votes are yet counted at close to midnight Mountain time.

But the results so far are decisive enough that the winners seem clear. With those partials in hand, incumbent Vern Bisterfeldt is at 77.5% (against two challengers), incumbent Maryanne Jordan is at 63.1% (also against two) and Thomson is ahead 60.3%-39.7% over attorney David Litster. The main opposition slate was positioned as a conservative/Republican group (the state party ED even posted on Facebook today his plans to vote for the three), so you could loosely take this result as a further indication that Boise is now a majority Democratic city. Not a point to be pushed too far (and not applicable to the non-Boise parts of Ada County), but there nonetheless.

One more note: With 15% of the vote in, Nampa Mayor Tom Dale had 71% of the vote. The most distinctive of his opponents, Melissa Robinson, was at 2%.

UPDATE The Boise results were completed somewhat past midnight. The winners were indeed Bisterfeldt (71.4%), Jordan (61.1%) and Thomson (57.4%).

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One Comment

  1. Laurynda Laurynda November 4, 2009

    Just a note ….David Litster is not an attorney. His brother Bill Litster is an attorney, currently being disciplined by the Idaho Bar Association, for some unsavory dealings with client settlements. Brother Bill was also identified as the funder for the election week robo-calls that painted Chuck Winder in an unfavorable light in the Boise mayoral race in 2004.

    David Litster is a BYU and Harvard MBA graduate. Mr. Litster ran a late-comer campaign. He was endorsed by Jim Tibbs and all of the Republican County Commissioners. I think we we see more of him in Boise city politics in the future.

    TJ Thompson ran a textbook campaign. He has a large following in the City of Trees because he was one of the original organizers for Idaho for Obama. He raised a lot of money and spent it wisely. Although Boise City Council races are supposed to be non-partisan, they have become increasingly partisan over the last decade.

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