What a birthday present.
On the same day he turned 49, Shoshone County Sheriff Dan Schierman staved off a feisty primary challenge from fellow Democrat Larry Irvine.
The margin of victory: a slim 88 votes.
“We figured all along, just by what we were hearing out there, that it was going to be a close election,” said Schierman, a 19-year veteran of the department. “I didn’t think it would be that close.”
Irvine said it’s not likely he’ll run as a write-in.
“It’s a big disappointment. I just don’t know that I could get that charged up again,” he said.
Shoshone County Commissioner Gary Waters didn’t fare as well, losing to former commissioner Jim Vergobbi by a razor-thin 29-vote margin.
With the two hotly contested races, voter turnout in Shoshone was 48 percent. Statewide, fewer than 28 percent of voters made it to the polls, and in Kootenai County, fewer than 20 percent.
Turnout was high in Benewah County, however, where the ballot was crowded with people vying to be sheriff or county commissioner.
Sheriff Rodney Thormahlen handily defeated former deputy Robert Loe in the Democratic primary. Thormahlen faces a strong challenge in November from long-time game warden Joe Blackburn, who beat fellow Republican Mike Thatcher by a landslide.
Also in Benewah, voters overwhelmingly approved a $1-per-month telephone surcharge to fund a county 911 system. The system should be set up in about three months.
In Kootenai County, Republican tax activist Ron Rankin beat incumbent County Commissioner Bob Macdonald by a healthy margin of 12 percentage points. And state Sen. Clyde Boatright survived a challenge by fellow Republican Tom Daugherty.
In Bonner County, Republican Sheriff Chip Roos narrowly held onto his seat after a strong challenge from attorney Mark Jones. And voters approved a nearly $4 million levy to build a new jail.
In Boundary County, Republican prosecutor Randall Day was ousted by deputy prosecutor Denise Woodbury. Republican Murleen Skeen swamped Robert Vickaryous in the race for county commissioner.