The mayors of Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls, as well as three incumbent city council members in each city, face challengers in the November election.
Post Falls Mayor Clay Larkin faces two political newcomers: private investigator Steven De Gon and Matthew Behringer, a 24-year-old who recently moved to this area. Larkin started as a councilman in 1996 before becoming mayor in 2001.
Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem, seeking her third term, faces a repeat challenge from Joseph Kunka, a marketing manager for a company that turns restaurant grease into biodiesel. Kunka ran for mayor in 2005 and for council in 2007. Bloem is a fourth-generation resident and the city’s first female mayor.
When Friday’s filing deadline closed, six people had entered the three city council races in each city. Candidates seeking council seats in Kootenai County communities had until Friday to declare their intentions for the Nov. 3 election.
In Coeur d’Alene, first-term councilman Mike Kennedy, president of a high-speed Internet company, is being challenged by Jim Brannon, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of North Idaho. Brannon also ran for council in 1999 and 2007.
Councilman Woody McEvers, who owns Rustler’s Roost restaurant and is seeking his third term, faces insurance agent and political newcomer Steve Adams. Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander, first elected in 1997, faces a challenge from Dan Gookin, a community activist and former vice chairman of the state Libertarian Party.
The Coeur d’Alene mayor earns $32,400 a year; council members earn $9,000 a year.
In Post Falls, Councilman Ron Jacobson, a senior vice president for Inland Northwest Bank who has been on the council for 11 years, is being challenged by Keith Hutcheson, police chief for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. Hutcheson has run for council twice before and serves as a commissioner for Kootenai County Fire and Rescue.
Councilman Joe Bodman, a Spokane County sheriff’s deputy who also has run for Kootenai County sheriff, faces a challenge from Betty Ann Henderson, wife of state Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls. Henderson, a former real estate agent, runs Home Security Caretakers Inc., a business that finds caretakers for vacant homes.
First-term councilwoman Linda Wilhelm, a real estate broker and former planning and zoning commissioner, faces a challenge from construction worker and political newcomer Bob Flowers.
The Post Falls mayor earns $18,963 a year; council members earn $7,296.