Republican incumbents prevail in local races

by KEITH KINNAIRD
News editor | November 5, 2020 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Tuesday's election saw Bonner County's incumbent Republicans fending off Democratic challengers.

Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler was the hands-down winner in his contest, having collected 17,925 votes (66.87 percent), but Democratic challenger Cindy Marx managed to end the contest with 8,806 votes (32.85 percent).

Wheeler said it would be an honor to serve the public for another four years.

"I have an exceptional team assembled at the sheriff’s office. All of us together aim to keep you safe and will continue to uphold your constitutional liberties," Wheeler said after the dust had settled from Tuesday's election settled.

Marx, meanwhile, was pleased with the response she received from voters. Marx entered the race in order to give voters a choice when they head to the polls.

"I’m quite pleased with the results. I wish I could have won the seat, but it spoke to the fact that a third of the voters in the county would like to see some changes in the office," said Marx.

Marx suspects she picked up GOP votes because of Wheeler's involvement in the litigation over a firearms prohibition at the Festival at Sandpoint and his position that Gov. Brad Little overstepped his authority in imposing novel coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

Marx was frank about not seeking elected office future. COVID-19 restrictions hampered her ability to campaign, but it also spared her a certain amount of spleen from Republican voters who questioned her qualifications for the office and her decision to run against Wheeler.

"It was not fun and I definitely got to see the underbelly of the community," said Marx, who added she understands why people wouldn't stand for office.

However, Marx said she was heartened by people who were thankful that she entered the race in order to keep it competitive.

Incumbent District 1 county Commissioner Steven Bradshaw withstood a challenge from Democrat Steve Johnson. Bradshaw also prevailed by a hefty margin — 17,566 votes and 66 percent of the vote.

Johnson amassed 8,999 votes on Tuesday, which accounts for 33.81 percent of the vote. Johnson offered his congratulations to Bradshaw and his gratitude to poll workers at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the polling precincts at Southside and Cocolalla, where he served as a poll watcher.

"They were well-organized, efficient and congenial. Plus they shared their delicious lunch smorgasbord with me," said Johnson.

In unopposed contests, incumbent Prosecutor Louis Marshall collected 20,833 votes, which amounted to 97.56 percent of the vote. Incumbent District 2 Commissioner Jeff Connollly earned a similar result — 20,673 votes, or 97.07 percent of the vote.

Bonner County Magistrate Court Judge Tera Harden retained her seat on the bench. Harden picked up 18,718 votes, which translated to 83.28 percent of the electorate. Three thousand, seven hundred and fifty seven voters, however, did not support the retention of her on the bench, which accounted for 16.72 percent of Bonner County voters.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com or followed on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.