August 8, 2013 in Washington Voices

Fire District 9 incumbent loses primary

Latah had 57 percent turnout
By The Spokesman-Review
 

The initial primary election results are in and show that appointed incumbent John Bjork lost his bid to keep his seat on the Spokane County Fire District 9 board of fire commissioners.

He received nearly 26 percent of the vote while Judy Personett received 39 percent and Jim Bennett took 34 percent.

Bjork said he was disappointed. “It was quite an experience to be a fire commissioner and I would have really liked to continue for another six years,” he said.

He placed signs at strategic areas around the district, which stretches above the northern borders of Spokane and Spokane Valley, but otherwise didn’t do a lot of campaigning. “I haven’t lived in this area too long,” he said. “We’re in a rural area and I’m just not that well-known around the district.”

Personett and Bennett will advance to the general election in November.

In the town of Latah more than 57 percent of the ballots were returned, which is a high turnout rate for a primary election. City council candidate Larry LaBolle received 43 percent of the vote and will advance to the general election along with the current mayor, Teresa Galvin, who received 40 percent of the vote. The third candidate, Dan Keller, earned 14 percent of the vote.

“I thought the turnout was great,” LaBolle said. “I am surprised it was that close. I’m surprised Teresa didn’t have the majority of the vote.”

Despite the tight race, LaBolle said he hasn’t really thought about a more active campaign. He said he would like to have some sort of event in the park, maybe a potluck picnic, which would feature all the candidates so residents can learn about their views.

In Rockford, city council candidate Robert Tollefson received a whopping 70 percent of the vote. He will face Chuck Collison in the November election. Appointed incumbent Larry Van Every received 11 percent of the vote, even though he recently withdrew from the race and resigned his seat because of a family emergency.

Tollefson said his job as the manager of the Rockford Mini-Mart, the only store for miles, probably gave him an edge. “I am fortunate to work in a very public spot,” he said. “I’m a little shocked it was that high. I thought it would be a little closer than that.”

Tollefson said he plans to continue a low-key race. “About the only campaigning I might do is put together a flier and walk around town and hand it out,” he said.


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