The city of Coeur d’Alene and an incumbent councilman emerged victorious Tuesday in a lawsuit that challenged the legality of the November 2009 City Council election and accused Kootenai County’s elections department of misconduct. Challenger Jim Brannon lost the Nov. 3 election to Mike Kennedy by five votes and responded by suing his opponent, the city and Kootenai County, which was later dropped from the suit. The trial began Sept. 13 and lasted six days.
The vote count from the Coeur d’Alene City Council election last November changed Wednesday after attorneys in an election challenge lawsuit agreed to eliminate three votes deemed illegal due to residency issues.
The losing candidate in last year’s Coeur d’Alene City Council election on Monday took the city and the councilman who defeated him to court. On Nov. 3, City Councilman Mike Kennedy beat challenger Jim Brannon by five votes in an election handled under contract by the Kootenai County elections department.
A hand recount of ballots from Airway Heights on Wednesday settled a lingering question of the 2009 general election, confirming City Councilman Patrick Rushing defeated incumbent Mayor Matthew Pederson by two votes. Rushing finished with 281 votes to Pederson’s 279.
The results of this month’s Spokane County election were certified on Tuesday, but the counting isn’t over. Elections officials next week will recount by hand the votes cast in the race for Airway Heights mayor.
Freeman School Board election results came down to the wire as two challengers waged a campaign for an empty seat and an incumbent was unseated in the Liberty School District. On election night Allen Crist was ahead by 11 votes for position 1 in Freeman. As the week wore on, his lead dropped to one, then his opponent John Zingg took the lead. Last week, with a few votes left to be counted, Crist said he was taking a wait-and-see approach. “It’ll definitely come down to the end,” he said. “I definitely would love to be on the school board. I love Freeman, that’s one of the reasons I ran for it.”
Incumbents triumphed in the November elections in Liberty Lake, with Odin Langford keeping his seat on the City Council and Frank Boyle staying on as a Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District commissioner. Vote counting has continued almost daily since the Nov. 3 elections, but Josh Beckett was so sure of his win over Cristella Kaminskas for the council seat being vacated by Neal Olander that he sent out an e-mail announcing victory on Nov. 4.
Cheney will have a new mayor at the start of 2010. Tom Trulove will take the office after a 1,167 to 573 victory over Mayor Allan Gainer in the Nov. 3 election.
Spokane’s $33 million fire bond appears to have failed. Tuesday’s tally of remaining ballots from last week’s general election shows the proposed property tax increase fell just short of the needed 60 percent supermajority, capturing 59.5 percent of the vote.
The results of Tuesday’s election signal a shift on the Spokane City Council and the possible creation of a new voting bloc that will put more emphasis on the environment and alternative transportation and be less friendly to big-box development. By the end of the month, Jon Snyder, publisher of Out There Monthly, will take over for Councilman Mike Allen. Early next year Amber Waldref, development director of The Lands Council, will replace architect and developer Al French, who is term limited.