Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Pence edges out Ridinger by 96 votes

Blaine only blue county in Idaho

Ketchum voting precincts 1 and 2 were greeted early Tuesday morning with a healthy line of West Ketchum and Warm Springs residents eager to weigh in on the issues of the day. Photo by Willy Cook

In a squeaker of a race for the Idaho House of Representatives District 25B seat, challenger Donna Pence, D-Gooding, edged out 10-year Statehouse veteran incumbent Rep. Tim Ridinger, R-Shoshone, by 96 votes.

In a similarly close race two years ago, Pence lost to Ridinger by 144 votes.

In Blaine County, 5,564 voters weighed in for Pence, while 3,096 voted for Ridinger.

In typical Idaho fashion, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry won Blaine County, but that was the extent of the challenger?s success in Idaho, where President George W. Bush won by a 40 percent margin on Tuesday.

Posting a record turnout, Blaine County voters cast 5,992 ballots for Kerry and 4,034 ballots for Bush. But early Wednesday morning, with key states like Ohio and Iowa still in play, it was unclear which candidate would win his bid for the White House.

Three-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson and incumbent U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo were predicted to easily win their jobs back. By 2 a.m., 649 of 949 statewide precincts had reported, and both candidates were far ahead.

Democrat Lin Whitworth challenged Simpson, and Democrat Scott McClure challenged Crapo as a write-in candidate.

North Idaho U.S. Rep. Butch Otter also easily won his seat.

How Blaine County voted

President George W. Bush R....4,034
Sen. John Kerry D.............5,992

Idaho Representative
Tim Ridinger R......3,096
Donna Pence D.......5,564

Idaho Rep.
Wendy Jaquet D......7,885

Idaho Senate
Clint Stennett D....8,200

Blaine County Sheriff
Walt Femling R......5,421
Jeff Gunter D.......4,480

U.S. Representative
Mike Simpson R......5,205
Lin Whitworth D.....4,409

U.S. Senate
U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo R.....7,196

Blaine County Commission
Tom Bowman D.....7,480

Sarah Michael D.....7,203

Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney
Jim Thomas D........7,513

Ballot questions

Blaine County Jail


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