Election races: Feast or famine

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Staff Writer

In perhaps the most bizarre candidate filing period in recent memory, six cities won't have election races on Nov. 7 unless write-in candidates step forward while six candidates filed for one Post Falls seat.

The cities of Coeur d’Alene, Dalton Gardens, Hayden, Hayden Lake, Huetter and Worley had only one candidate file for each open seat by Friday's 5 p.m. deadline to be on the nonpartisan city/fire district election ballot.

By law, cities have to hold an election even if there is only one name on the ballot for each open seat.

Meanwhile, six candidates have lined up for the Post Falls City Council seat held by Betty Ann Henderson.

"It depends on where you are," said Kootenai County Clerk Jim Brannon, referring to the election interest.

When asked his thoughts on possible reasons for the spotty interest, Brannon said: "Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe people like the job some of the candidates are doing now. There's also a lot to running a campaign."

In Post Falls, Bobby Wilhelm, Bob Flowers, Richard Whitehead, Steve Anthony, James Steffensen and Joe Bodman will seek Henderson's seat. Henderson decided to not seek re-election.

Three other Post Falls seats are coming open and were filed for by the incumbents. Mayor Ron Jacobson and council members Alan Wolfe and Linda Wilhelm didn't draw any challengers.

The deadline to file as a write-in candidate for the city election is Oct. 10.

However, absentee ballots will start to be mailed on Oct. 6.

"Write-in candidates should not wait until the last minute," Brannon said.

Fire districts are allowed to appoint an unchallenged candidate to the vacancy, avoiding the need for an election. Write-in candidates for fire district offices have until Sept. 25 to file their declarations.

Write-in candidates should contact their local city hall, fire district office or the county’s elections office at 446-1030.

Early voting at the elections office will be Oct. 16 to Nov. 3 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Here's how election races with other agencies will shape up:


Coeur d'Alene — Four incumbents, including Mayor Steve Widmyer and council members Amy Evans (Seat 2), Woody McEvers (4) and Kiki Miller (6), are all seeking re-election. The four did not draw any challengers.

Hayden — Council incumbents Dick Panabaker (Seat 2) and Jeri DeLange (4) did not draw any challengers.

Rathdrum — Candace "Kandi" Johnson and Penelope "Penny" Weitz will challenge Darrell Rickard for Seat 1. Mike Hill will challenge Paula Laws for Seat 3.

Spirit Lake — Mayor Todd Clary will be challenged by Renee Eastman. Council member Joy Porter will be challenged by William Millsap and Kim Trask for a two-year seat. Chris Robinson and Autumn Massender, who both currently serve, were the only two to file for two four-year seats.

Athol — Mary Zichko and Andrew Bruse will seek Seat 3, while Shane McDaniel was the lone candidate to file for Seat 4.

Dalton Gardens — Joe Myers and Denise Lundy were the only two candidates to file for two four-year seats.

Fernan Lake Village — Raymond Watkins and Eugene Marano will vie for Seat 1, while Doris Hoffman was the lone candidate to file for Seat 4.

Harrison — Mayor Wanda Irish will be challenged by Kayleen Walker. Debbie Lockhart and Jessica Hutson were the lone candidates to file for three council seats.

Hauser — Claire Hatfield was the lone candidate to file for mayor. Laurie Griffith and Kinzo Mihara will battle for a two-year council seat. Kiera Beck and William Ray filed for two four-year seats.

Hayden Lake — Daniel Baker (Seat 2) and Jim Ackerman (4) were the lone candidates to file.

Huetter — No one filed for an open two-year council seat. LaTasha Sumner and John Whitaker filed for two four-year seats.

Worley — Keith Gilbert and Richard Wienclaw were the lone candidates to file for two open four-year seats.

State Line — The city did not submit to the county properly completed forms by the 5 p.m. deadline. Therefore, this list does not reflect any candidates for the city.


East Side — Fred Fricke (sub-district 1) and Mary Mills (3) were the lone candidates to file for the seats.

Hauser Lake — Myron Richardson was the lone candidate to file for sub-district 3.

Kootenai County Fire and Rescue — Richard Nordstrom will be challenged by Jeff Populus and Andrew Boyle for sub-district 3. Paul Wagner was the lone candidate to file for sub-district 4 and Michael Hunt for sub-district 5.

Mica Kidd Island — Larry Mundt was the lone candidate to file for sub-district 3.

Northern Lakes — Larry Clark (sub-district 1), Dennis Amende (3) and Terry Thompson (5) were the lone candidates to file for the seats.

Spirit Lake — Mark Miller and Jonathan Hall will seek the sub-district 2 seat.

St. Maries — Kevin McHail (sub-district 1) Helen Muffly (2) were the lone candidates to file for the two seats.

Timberlake — Robert Schaff was the lone candidate to file for sub-district 2. Rudy Rudebaugh will be challenged by Sherry Graaskam for sub-district 4. Sam Conner and Deborah Rose are seeking the sub-district 5 seat.

Worley — Gary Drechsel (sub-district 2) and Edward Joy (3) were the lone candidates to file for the seats.

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