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Idaho Enterprise

Election Day in Oneida County

The country took to the ballot box on Tuesday, to determine the direction of Congress for the next two years as well as state and local governments.  Oneida was no different, although the early morning snowfall added a wrinkle to it.

“I hope people still come out, despite the weather,” County Clerk Lon Colton said.  Colton, who has been overseeing elections in the county since 2011, expressed his belief that the weather would likely not be much of a hindrance to turnout.  “This is a big election,” he said.  “I think we’ll still see a big turnout.”

Non-presidential elections routinely see smaller numbers than those for the largest race, but Oneida County has a generally high level of participation.  “I’d like to see a hundred percent…that’s the dream.  Given how things work with people moving in and out that’s never going to happen, but eighty-five to ninety percent, boy I’d love to see it,” Colton said.  

Many voters see participation in the process as an important civic duty, and show up to vote regardless of the specific stakes of the election.  While many of the county officials are running unopposed this election, many of the state wide offices have generated a certain amount of energy over the last six months or so.  

The highest office up for election was Mike Crapo’s Senate seat.  The polling leading up to election indicates that Crapo is running well ahead of Democrat David Roth, and the seat is essentially secure for Republicans.  In the House, Mike Simpson’s race against Democrat Wendy Norman is also not expected to be close.

The governor’s election was certainly the most high profile, where incumbent governor Brad Little faced off against Democrat Stephen Heidt, Independent Ammon Bundy, the Libertarian Party’s Paul Sand, and the Constitution Party’s Chantyrose Davison.  In the primaries, Little won roughly 148,000 votes, as compared with Heidt’s roughly 25,000.  The other party-affiliated candidates received under 1,000 each.  Ammon Bundy remained something of an unknown as of Tuesday, as without a primary there were no solid vote totals to look to as predictors for election day performance.  Bundy does have a significant foothold in a number of rural counties across Idaho, including Oneida, but it remains to be seen whether that base will translate to statewide resonance.

The Lieutenant Governor’s race is one that was much more heated at the primary stage, with Scott Bedke running against current Lt Gov Janice McGeachin.  As a result of winning the primary, Bedke faces Democrat Terri Manweiler and the Constitution candidate Pro-Life.  

Shawn Keenan (D) and Phil McCrane (R) faced off in the Secretary of State race.  The secretary of state, along with a number of other duties, is responsible for overseeing elections in the state.

Dianna David (D), Brandon Woolf (R), and Miste Gardner (Con), were up for the State Controller’s position.  The Controller is essentially the state’s accountant and business manager, making sure that state accounts are accurate and balanced.

Raul Labrador (R) and Tom Arkoosh (D) were up for the Attorney General’s position.  Labrador, a prominent member of the Idaho congressional delegation in the teens, was ahead in polling leading up to election day.  

The Superintendent of Public Instruction position featured Debbie Critchfield (R) and Terry Gilbert (D) in a head to head race.  Critchfield defeated current Superintendent Sherri Ybarra in May’s primary for the right to contest in this election, but among Idaho’s statewide offices, Superintendent is the one that vacillates between parties most frequently.  

The last contested race on Oneida County ballots was that between Kelly Anthon (R) and Bill Drury (I) for legislative district 27 state senator.  Both Drury and Anthon had spent a lot of time and resources in the county in the lead up to the election.

The remaining election questions on the ballot all related to candidates running unopposed, including Legislative district 27 representative A Douglas Pickett, legislative district 27 B Clay Handy, County Commissioners Ken Eliason (4 year term) and Brian Jeppson (2 year term), County Clerk Lon Colton, County Treasurer Leigh Love, County Assessor Kathleen Atkinson,  County Coroner Brad Horsley, and sixth district magistrate David Hooste.

An amendment which would allow for special sessions of the legislature was also on the ballot.  

An advisory question about a potential future tax refund and increase in educational spending was also included. 

The Enterprise plans to include a supplemental insert in this week’s paper with the provisional results of Tuesday’s election, unless an unforeseen delay causes this to be impossible.