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Incumbents fare poorly in Idaho primary elections

Staff reports

It was a bad night for several North Idaho incumbents, as voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s primary election.

Kootenai County Commission Chairman Dick Panabaker was among them.

After 10 years on the commission, Panabaker appeared to be losing to GOP challenger Katie Brodie.

Another incumbent, Commissioner Rick Currie, gets to keep his job, having beaten Republican challenger Claudia Brennan.

Brodie, who raised a record-breaking $24,540, was edging out Panabaker by 174 votes with 95 percent of precincts reporting. Challenger Rich Piazza had 26 percent of the vote while Mike Piper received 8 percent.

“Oh my word, that’s incredible,” Brodie said when she learned she was leading.

The commission race was settled by the Republican primary because there are no Democratic candidates.

That was the case, as well, in Legislative District 3.

Rep. Jim Clark withstood a challenge by Hayden City Councilor Jeri DeLange.

But two other incumbent Republican lawmakers – Sen. Kent Bailey and Rep. Wayne Meyer – lost races in the district that includes Hayden, Rathdrum, Spirit Lake, Athol and Bayview.

The District 3 election returns Clyde Boatright to the Senate seat he previously held for eight terms.

It sends Mike Jorgensen to the House after two terms on the Hayden City Council, along with Phil Hart, who ran for the Legislature in 2002 as a Constitution Party candidate.

The one-party aspect of the race soured some voters.

“I’m very disappointed in the Democrats for not having any candidates,” Lorraine Tipke of Hayden said moments before casting her ballot.

“When you don’t have a choice, what are you going to do?”

In Legislative District 5, Kootenai County Republican Central Committee chairman Bob Nonini was edging out Ron Vieselmeyer in the race to replace Rep. Hilde Kellogg, R-Post Falls.

Nonini, who raised $25,256 including $10,000 of his own cash, may now face Democrat David Larsen and Constitution Party candidate Rose Johnson in the November general election.

Kellogg is retiring after 22 years in the Idaho House.

Also in District 5, Rep. Charles Eberle, R-Post Falls, was losing by a few votes to Frank Henderson, a former Kootenai County commissioner and Post Falls mayor.

The winner will face Democrat Lyndon Harriman in the November general election.

In District 6, Sen. Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, was easily winning re-election against challenger and political newcomer Gregg Vance.In the only Democratic primary in Kootenai County, Coeur d’Alene City Attorney Mike Gridley was defeating Rep. Bonnie Douglas, D-Coeur d’Alene, to represent Legislative District 4.

Gridley will probably face Republican Marge Chadderdon, who was winning the Republican primary, in the November general election.

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