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Kootenai County cities will have crowded ballots

Sat., Sept. 8, 2007

Coeur d’Alene has one of the most crowded council elections in recent history as 11 candidates put their name on the November ballot, including five people battling for the one open council seat.

Councilman Al Hassell, a former mayor, has three people challenging him for his seat: Jim Brannon, the local Habitat for Humanity executive director who ran for the council in 1999; Jerry Weaver, a retired California law officer; and political newcomer Chris Patterson.

As the 5 p.m. Friday filing deadline closed, two new challengers entered the race for the open seat vacated when council President Dixie Reid opted not to seek re-election. Former city building department employee Wayne Frisbie and former Republican Kootenai County clerk candidate Anita Banta filed. They join Planning Commission Chairman John Bruning, who previously announced his candidacy, along with former Planning Commission member Susie Snedaker and former mayoral candidate Joseph Kunka.

“This is probably the strongest turnout we’ve had,” City Clerk Susan Weathers said.

This is the second election in which candidates have to pick a specific seat to run for instead of the former “horse-race” style election where the top vote-getters won the seats.

Candidates seeking council seats in Kootenai County cities, in addition to towns across Idaho, had until Friday to declare their campaigns for the Nov. 6 election. Rathdrum and Hayden also have mayoral elections.

In the race for the third Coeur d’Alene council seat, Councilman Ron Edinger, the city’s longest-serving councilman and a former mayor, is running against Dan Gookin, a community activist and former Libertarian candidate for the Idaho Senate.

Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem, who isn’t on the ballot, said she isn’t surprised by the strong interest in city elections.

“The city has grown, and there is a lot of focus on what we are doing,” she said.

Post Falls has three candidates battling for the open seat vacated by Councilman Dick Harris, a former schools superintendent who isn’t seeking election.

Former mayoral candidate Kerri Thoreson; Kristy Johnson, who has run for the Idaho Legislature numerous times; and political newcomer Jack Evans have filed for the open, four-year council seat.

Council President Scott Grant is unopposed.

Last spring, voters approved expanding the council by adding two new seats. Skip Hissong is running against Angela Alexander for the new four-year position while real estate agent Linda Wilhelm, political newcomer Anthony Skarisky and former council candidate Keith Hutchison are vying for the new two-year seat.

There are no contested races in Hayden.

Mayor Ron McIntire is running unopposed, as is Councilwoman Nancy Taylor.

Hayden Planning Commission member Roger Saterfiel is the only candidate to file for Councilman Chris Beck’s seat. Beck is moving out of town this month. It’s unknown whether McIntire will appoint someone to replace Beck or wait until the outcome of the November election.

In Rathdrum, Dan Tesulov, Ken Hayes and Vic Holmes are running for mayor to succeed Brian Steele, who is not seeking re-election. All have City Council experience: Holmes’ term ends next year; Hayes’ is up in 2010 and Tesulov served in 2005.

Running for the city’s two four-year council terms are Deborah Holmes, Fred Meckel, Richard Moser, Carmon O’Donnell, Destry Randles, Kristen Storey, Chris Weitzel and Dan Vestal. The two with the most votes will fill four-year positions vacated by Vic Holmes and Councilman Bill Swaghoven, who’s stepping down after eight years.

Three of four Spirit Lake City Council positions are open. Incumbent council members Shelley Tschida and Gary Ventress are seeking election to the two four-year seats. Challenger Jim Lynn is also in the running. The two with the most votes will get those seats. Councilman Todd Clary is running unopposed for a two-year term.

In Hauser, four of the five City Council positions – including mayor – are up for election, and all candidates are unopposed.

Mayor Ed Peone, who’s led the city for 15 years, is seeking re-election to his post. Council members Carmen Miller and Olita Johnston are running for re-election, and Bill Madigan is seeking Donna Ray’s seat, who is not running.


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