Approximately 62 percent of Blaine County voters exercised their right to vote in the Tuesday, Nov. 4, midterm elections.
Among the decisions voters had to make were who to choose to fill three District 26 seats in the Idaho Legislature. District 26 encompasses Blaine, Lincoln, Camas and Gooding counties. Blaine County has the largest population of the four counties, and is one of a handful of Idaho counties that generally leans Democratic. However, the three southern counties traditionally lean Republican, so a win in Blaine County doesn’t ensure a win in District 26.
District 26 voters elected to keep two Democrats in the Legislature, Sen. Michelle Stennett of Ketchum and Rep. Donna Pence of Gooding. Both are incumbents. Incumbent Rep. Steve Miller, R-Fairfield, defeated Democrat challenger Dick Fosbury of Bellevue by only 126 votes. Both men were seeking the District 26-A Legislative seat.
Blaine County voters clearly favored Fosbury, who received 4,804 votes to Miller’s 2,275. In Ketchum, Fosbury won 346-82 in the northern precinct and 394 to 89 in the southern precinct. In Bellevue, the race was closer: Fosbury only won by 73 votes. Carey and Gannett both heavily favored Miller. Despite Blaine County’s preference for Fosbury, voters in Camas, Gooding and Lincoln counties ensured Miller’s win. He won 352-89 in Camas County, 2,834 to 1,019 in Gooding County and 948 to 371 in Lincoln County. Overall, Miller won 6,409 to 6,283.
“It was such a close election—it was really difficult to watch my lead fade away,” Fosbury said Thursday. He said he plans to stay involved in local politics.
Stennett handily took over half the Blaine County votes in her race against Republican Dale Ewersen of Bellevue. Stennett won 4,974 to 2,101 in Blaine County. Ewersen won in Camas, Gooding and Lincoln counties, but his edge wasn’t big enough to make a difference. Districtwide, Stennett took 7,383 of the 12,632 votes for the district senate seat.
On her victory, Stennett said her fellow District 26 Democrats and their campaign manager, Kathryn Goldman, exhibited hard work and dedication.
“Let us go forward listening to the people and taking their voice to the Legislature,” she said.
Pence, who holds the District 26-B seat in the House, faired similarly well. She swept Blaine County with 4,809 votes to challenger Don Hudson’s 2,196. Hudson, a Republican, is from Shoshone. Hudson and Pence were neck-and-neck in the three southern counties, despite the latter being Pence’s home turf. Hudson edged her out by 59 votes in Lincoln County, 87 in Gooding County, and 75 in Camas County. Overall, Pence received 7,537 votes and Hudson took 5,145.
On Wednesday, Nov. 5, Pence said she was pleased with the election results and is ready to get back to work—particularly with recommendations to the Education Taskforce, of which she is a member. Water and transportation are two additional issues Pence hopes to work on.
- North Blaine County: 425
- Sun Valley: 378
- North Ketchum: 431
- South Ketchum: 494
- Quigley: 345
- Deer Creek: 176
- Northwest Hailey: 308
- Northeast Hailey: 354
- Southwest Hailey: 300
- Northwest Woodside: 224
- Southeast Woodside: 311
- Poverty Flat: 173
- Bellevue: 514
- Carey: 274
- Gannett/Picabo: 177
- Yale: 9
- Absentee: 2,263