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Former Post Falls mayor will lead CdA; voters narrowly favor incumbents for CdA city council

UPDATED: Wed., Nov. 3, 2021

Jim Hammond, former Post Falls mayor, won the race for Coeur d'Alene mayor in Tuesday's election.  (Jim Hammond campaign)
Jim Hammond, former Post Falls mayor, won the race for Coeur d'Alene mayor in Tuesday's election. (Jim Hammond campaign)
By Nina Culver For The Spokesma-Review

Experience won in Tuesday’s election of Coeur d’Alene mayor and city council members.

Voters chose to keep all three council incumbents and voted soundly in favor of Jim Hammond, former Post Falls mayor and Coeur d’Alene city administrator, for mayor.

Hammond came in with a strong resume. He was on the Post Falls City Council from 1982-91, served as the mayor of Post Falls from 1991-96 and was a state senator from 2007-12. But Hammond said he wasn’t sure how far name recognition would take him because of all the new residents who have been moving to Coeur d’Alene. He was also wary of the slate of candidates being pushed by the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, which included one of his opponents, Joe Alfieri.

“I was pretty optimistic, but the far-right group that was working the slate was well-organized,” he said.

Hammond won 50.3% of the vote versus Alfieri’s 44.4%. A third challenger, Michael Lentz, received only 5.3% of the vote.

Hammond said one of his first tasks will be to consult with medical professionals to help determine the best way to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The first priority will be to try to get past the pandemic and businesses back to normal and get schools back to normal,” he said. “We’ll just continue to try to educate people on the fastest route available.”

Hammond has a strong foundation of knowledge about Coeur d’Alene, having served as the city administrator from 2014 -17, but said he plans to brush up on what’s changed since then.

“I have to do a lot of re-education about what’s going on in the city right now,” he said.

Councilwoman Kiki Miller had the narrowest win, capturing only 49 votes more than Elaine Price. Price, who has no previous political experience, ran unsuccessfully for a City Council seat two years ago. She and her husband own Spartacus Coins Bullion.

Price said when she was unsuccessful for her bid for a council seat in 2019, she immediately decided she would run again. This time, however, she’s not so certain.

“It was so close,” she said. “It’s a lot different than last time. I’m going to stay involved, but I’m not sure how.”

Councilwoman Amy Evans took 49.2% of the vote, only three percentage points and a few hundred votes more than Roger Garlock, who works for a company that assists prisoners released to community supervision. Her second challenger, entrepreneur Morgan Dixon, took 4.1% of the vote.

Evans said she was pleased to be able to serve another term.

“It’s an absolute honor to be able to continue to serve the city of Coeur d’Alene,” she said. “I appreciate all the people who took the time to go to the polls.”

Councilman Woody McEvers had the biggest win among the incumbents, capturing 51.5% of the vote. His closest competitor, xCraft CEO J.D. Claridge, had 43% of the vote.

“I’m grateful I still get to keep asking questions,” McEvers said. “That’s all that job is, really.”

Both of McEvers’ opponents are political novices. Both Claridge and entrepreneur Grayson Cross said they liked McEvers, who said the feeling is mutual.

“They’re good guys,” he said. “I’m going to try to get them involved. Come on in and start learning. That’s how I did it.”

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