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North Idaho voters choose incumbents, newcomers in Tuesday primary election

Courtesy of Kootenai County

People in north Idaho voted for change in some of their local offices during yesterday’s primary election. But they also returned several incumbents.

In Bonner County, the three-person board of commissioners will have two new members. Voters rejected Republican commission chairman Luke Omodt in favor of fellow Republican Ron Korn, a self-described Christian conservative patriot. Either Republican Brian Domke, a landscape architect, or Democrat Meghan Yeats will replace an incumbent, Republican Steven Bradshaw, who ran instead for sheriff and lost. Domke collected 6,668 votes, Yates 965.

Shoshone County voters also voted out a commissioner, Republican Tracy Casady, who was appointed to the office by Governor Brad Little in 2022. Casady lost to Republican challenger Melissa Cowles, a local realtor and owner of a vaping company. Incumbent Republican Jeff Zimmerman will run against Democrat Jack Rupp in November.

The Kootenai County commission will return one current member, Republican Leslie Duncan, and welcome back a second member, Republican Marc Eberlein, who served four years on the board before he was defeated by current commissioner Bill Brooks in 2016. Brooks chose not to run for re-election.

Boundary County returned Republican Ben Robertson to the county commission and voted in Republican Lester Pinkerton, a retired Forest Service employee, to fill an open seat. Benewah County voters re-elected commissioners Mark Reynolds and Robert Short.

Two of five incumbent sheriffs were re-elected: Robert Norris in Kootenai County and Anthony Wells in Benewah County. Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler will run against independent Glenn Lefebvre in November. Shoshone County Sheriff Holly Lindsay, a Democrat, has a real challenge to keep her job in November. She had served as undersheriff when she was sworn in in December 2022 to replace retiring Sheriff Mike Gunderson for the rest of his term. A Republican challenger, David Hildebrand, collected nearly three times as many votes. Travis Stolley will be the new sheriff in Boundary County, replacing David Kramer. Stolley is a former detective and school resource officer for the sheriff’s department.

In local school measures, 54% of voters in the West Bonner County district said no to a one year, $4.65 million supplemental levy. It's the second consecutive year patrons have turned down a school ballot measure.

A two-year, $1.3 million levy in the Plummer-Worley School District also failed. Voters in Benewah County approved it 265-253, but Kootenai County patrons turned it down 222-165.

Doug Nadvornick has spent most of his 30+-year radio career at Spokane Public Radio and filled a variety of positions. He is currently the program director and news director. Through the years, he has also been the local Morning Edition and All Things Considered host (not at the same time). He served as the Inland Northwest correspondent for the Northwest News Network, based in Coeur d’Alene. He created the original program grid for KSFC. He has also served for several years as a board member for Public Media Journalists Association. During his years away from SPR, he worked at The Pacific Northwest Inlander, Washington State University in Spokane and KXLY Radio.