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News >  K-12 education

Post Falls voters side with conservative Republicans in two school district races, reject controversial candidate

UPDATED: Wed., Nov. 3, 2021

David J. Reilly, left, faces Jake Dawson for the Zone 5 seat on the Post Falls school board. Dawson won with 53.4% of the vote in Tuesday's election. 
David J. Reilly, left, faces Jake Dawson for the Zone 5 seat on the Post Falls school board. Dawson won with 53.4% of the vote in Tuesday's election. 

The three men elected Tuesday to the Post Falls School District Board of Trustees oppose mandated vaccines for COVID-19 and expressed concern about critical race theory in schools.

But voters did reject one candidate, endorsed by the local GOP, whose past social media comments had denigrated Jews and women. That contest also had higher turnout than the other two races, including one that ousted an incumbent.

Voters selected Guy McAninch, Logan Creighton and Jake Dawson for three seats on the district’s five-member board. Creighton’s 12-vote margin of victory over incumbent Bridget Malek was the closest contest but not narrow enough to require a state-funded recount, and Malek conceded in a Facebook post early Wednesday morning.

Creighton said his focus would be looking at curriculum to determine if the theory that has become a target of right-leaning politicians nationwide is being taught in any form in the district, even though state law forbids it.

“That is correct, it’s not supposed to be taught,” Creighton said. “Whether or not it is, in its very different guises, is something we need to look at.”

Dawson defeated David J. Reilly, a former radio host who recently moved to Post Falls and touted “America First” values. Reilly also made several social media comments, beginning in 2019 and continuing through 2020, seen as misogynistic and antisemitic.

Dawson did not respond to a request for comment on social media but previously had said his concern was students, not his opponent’s political beliefs. He also expressed concern about mandates for masks and vaccines, the latter now recommended for children between 5 and 11 years old by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Dawson/Reilly race had a ballot total of 1,982, nearly 500 more total votes than the next closest race for the district. School district zones must be roughly equal in population, according to state code, but there may be more registered voters in one zone compared to another.

McAninch, who did not respond to a website request for comment Wednesday, has also campaigned against such mandates and told the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, which endorsed him, that he was running “to protect the children of Post Falls from being indoctrinated by the Leftist ideology, which has tragically changed the course of our nation, causing division and distrust in our communities.”

McAninch defeated Neil Uhrig with 60% of the vote.

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