Lameduck Kootenai County commissioner Bob Macdonald will stage a write-in campaign to retain his seat.
Macdonald, defeated in May’s primary by tax activist Ron Rankin, said Tuesday he’d had “literally hundreds of requests” to jump back in the race.
He said moderates were dissatisfied with their choice of Rankin or attorney Chuck Sheroke.
“Business people are afraid Chuck Sheroke won’t see their side of the story and Ron Rankin couldn’t care less about it,” Macdonald said. “Employees of the county are concerned neither of the other candidates will continue some of the things we’ve started.”
The announcement caught Macdonald’s challengers and other political watchers off guard, but did not sway them.
“I’m very surprised, but I think it will be beneficial to my campaign,” said Sheroke. “I would have thought he wouldn’t get into this race.”
Macdonald, a two-time commissioner, was defeated handily in May’s primary by Rankin.
But Macdonald maintains that was because voter turnout was low and the polls were clogged by supporters of Rankin’s One Percent Initiative. Macdonald’s own supporters, meanwhile, stayed home thinking his re-election was “a sure thing.”
Macdonald acknowledged he would be a long-shot candidate.
“Most people know that, but they asked me to do it anyway,” he said. “And they’ll support my efforts.”
Political watchers agreed it would be a tough race to win for Macdonald, but disagreed on what it would mean for his opponents.
Former commissioner Kent Helmer said Macdonald could peel support from fellow conservative Rankin and toss the race toward Sheroke.
But Republican Party Chair Kathy Sims said the party was still behind Rankin, whom she considers the likely victor.
“I’m not worried about the outcome of that race,” she said. “We have the voting patterns and history and I think the candidate has probably been more in touch with the constituents than I have.”
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