Incumbents claim primary wins

by Caroline Lobsinger
Staff Writer | June 3, 2020 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Incumbents kept their seats as Bonner County’s first all-absentee ballot went off without a hitch on a delayed Election Day.

Charlie Wurm, deputy clerk in the Bonner County Elections, said 10,452 ballots of the 15,000 requested were turned in to county officials by the 8 p.m. deadline on June 2.

“This is going to be a record, I’m fairly certain, for a primary election,” Wurm told the Daily Bee late Tuesday afternoon.

Sage Dixon, incumbent in the Legislative District 1B House seat, garnered 4,562 votes — or 74.84 percent — over challenger Gary Suppiger, who received 1,534 votes, to claim the Republican nod for the race. Dixon will face Stephen F. Howlett, who received 1,813 votes on the Democratic ticket.

Incumbent Bonner County Commissioner Steven Bradshaw received 4,695 votes — or 66.58 votes — for the right to run to retain his District 1 seat for a four-year term. Challenger Butch Horton received 2,357 votes. Bradshaw will face Democrat Steve Johnson, who was running unopposed, received 2,095 votes.

Jeff Connolly, incumbent in the District 2 seat, was unopposed for the two-year term and received 5,917 votes in the Republican side of the ballot. No Democrat was running for the seat.

In the race for Bonner County Sheriff, incumbent Daryl Wheeler was unopposed on the Republican side of the ballot. He received 5,609 votes. On the Democratic side of the ticket, Cindy L. Marx waged a write-in campaign, receiving 468 votes to earn the right to face Wheeler in the general election.

Bonner County Prosecutor Louis E. Marshall was unopposed on the Republican ballot, receiving 5,910 votes. There is no Democratic challenger for the general election.

In the Legislative District 1 Idaho Senate race, Vera Gadman received 1,822 votes on the Democratic ticket. She will face incumbent Jim Woodward, who received 5,479 votes on the Republican ticket. Both were unopposed.

In the Legislative District 1A House of Representatives seat, incumbent Heather Scott received 4,559 votes to earn the right to again represent the Republican party in the general election. She will face Gail Bolin, who was running unopposed on the Democratic ticket in the general election in November. Bolin received 1,857 votes.

In the Legislative District 7 state Senate seat, incumbent Carl Crabtree received 940 votes in Bonner County. District-wide, Crabtree had 1,965 votes.

In the Legislative District 7 House 7A seat, incumbent Priscilla Giddings received 670 votes in Bonner County compared to challenger Dennis Harper, who received 364 seats in the county. District-wide, Giddings received 1,284 votes over Harper’s 827 votes to claim the Republican nomination.

In the Legislative District 7B House seat, Cornel Rasor garnered 808 votes in Bonner County. Charlie Shepherd received 271 votes in the county. District-wide, Rasor received 1,378 over Shepherd’s 768 votes to claim the party’s nomination.

Wurm said the count was expected to go smoothly with most of the ballots entered before the deadline. Even though ballots could not begin to be counted until after 8 p.m., he said that gave the county a “good jump on it” and he expected the process to go smoothly.

“About 90 percent of the ballots are already stored so we just need to flip the switch [once it is 8 p.m.],” Wurm said.

After a lawsuit extended the deadline to request an absentee ballot from May 19 to May 26, Wurm said the county received an additional 500 requests. It’s unclear how many of those ballots were returned in time to be counted, however.

The almost 38.51 percent turnout for a primary election is well above normal, with about 25-30 percent of the county’s registered voters typically turning out, Wurm said. The previous high was in 2016, when about 33 percent of the county’s registered voters turned out.

Caroline Lobsinger can be reached by email at and follow her on Twitter @CarolDailyBee.