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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


For the week of November 13 - 19, 2002

News

Ridinger wins seat 
by 144 votes

Faulkner and Pence reflect on race


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

In a photo-finish early last Wednesday morning, incumbent Rep. Tim Ridinger, R-Shoshone, edged out Gooding Democrat Donna Pence by a scant 144 votes in the Nov.5 general election.

"I keep wondering where I could have gone or what I could have done to pick up those votes, but I guess thatís the way it goes," said an upbeat Pence Friday morning.

Despite the close tally, Pence said she would not pursue a recount.

"I have a lot of confidence in the people who did the count," she said. "I feel that it would not change significantly."

For the contested District 25 Senate seat, incumbent Sen. Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum, easily beat challenger Tom Faulkner, 7,780 to 4,376.

Faulkner reflected that he simply couldnít keep up with Stennettís spending during the last two weeks of the campaign. He said he believes Stennettís final two-week advertising blitz created the final spread in an otherwise close race.

Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, ran and won, unopposed.

In traditional District 25 (formerly District 21) fashion, the vote was split along an imaginary Mason Dixon Line that separates the more liberal and populated Blaine County to the north from the more agrarian and rural Camas, Lincoln and Gooding counties to the south.

While Pence won Blaine County 3,604 to 2,550, Ridinger won the districtís southern three counties 3,498 to 2,298. Similarly, the Stennett and Faulkner race was close in the southern district with Stennett winning 2,992 to 2,871, while Stennett overwhelmingly won Blaine County 4,788 to 1,505.

"The vote said that the southern part is more conservative than the north, but we all knew that," Faulkner said. "I feel good that, as a challenger, and spending that much less, that I did how I did."

Both Faulkner and Pence said they plan to stay involved, despite their losses.

Though his Gooding County Commission term expires at the end of December, Faulkner said he will remain a member of the Bliss School Board and will try to volunteer and work on some various community issues "just to help out any way I can."

"And two years goes by pretty quick," he said, alluding to another election year. "I probably will run for something again. Iím not sure what at this point in time."

Pence, who spent a lot of time this summer going door to door throughout the district, said the campaign was an excellent learning experience.

"I got to know so many people in the whole district," she said. "I felt that I gained a lot from what they said, and Iíd like to think that they got some insight on things as well."

Pence said she is interested in working with south-district residents to find agreeable solutions to dairy issues "and the fact that itís so polarized.

"I think thee are solutions, and Iíd like to work toward those," she said.

Ridinger, who is heading back to Boise this winter, acknowledged the close race.

"It was a lot of work," he said, "and, my opponent, she put in a lot of work. It just came out for me.

"Now Iíll concentrate on doing what the district wants me to do. Iíll continue to work with our senator and our other representative. I look forward to the next two years. Weíre going to have some hard work with the budget."

 

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