Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Incumbents do well in Shoshone elections

Local Editor | November 10, 2023 1:00 AM

Eight elections for 10 contested seats were during Tuesday’s election in Shoshone County.

The Kellogg and Wallace School Districts also asked their communities to fill in their budget gaps with two-year, supplemental levies. 

Seven incumbent candidates were featured, with five winning their reelection bids. 

The following information remains unofficial until it can be officially canvassed in the coming days.

The city of Pinehurst was the crux of seven different races, with three city council seats, three school board zone trustees, and the mayoral race, as well as the KSD’s levy.

Skip Robinett won the mayoral contest, garnering nearly 68% of the votes and beating incumbent Russ Lowe. 

Former Pinehurst mayor and county commissioner Jay Huber secured a two-year seat on the city council – winning a narrow race against Brandon Church and Dan Garner, grabbing 142 votes to Church’s 132, and securing 44.3% of the votes. Garner finished a distant third. 

Incumbents Kyle Ross and Nick Elam, with 234 and 183 votes respectively, will serve four-year terms on the city council, defeating Heather Bauer.

Kellogg School District’s trustee races featured Zones 3, 4, and 5 – each of them containing a section of the city of Pinehurst. 

In the weeks leading up to the election, the nonpartisan races were widely discussed, both in print and social media due largely in part to three of the challengers being vetted and supported by the Shoshone County Republican Central Committee.

Zone 3, which comprises the bulk of Pinehurst, a section of Kingston, and a small number from Smelterville, was contested between incumbent Sam Gibbons and Sarah Frohlich. Gibbons secured nearly two-thirds of the votes (65.9%), winning 236 to Frohlich’s 122. 

Frohlich took to her Facebook page following the election to thank her supporters. 

“Thank you to everyone who supported me with my school board run and who entrusted me with your votes,” Frohlich wrote. “I have learned a lot about the school district, the community and myself throughout this endeavor and can say I am better for it. I hope our children will reap the benefit from the votes and the issues brought forward.”

Zone 4, which encompasses the areas of Pine Creek, a section of Pinehurst, the majority of Smelterville, and some of Kingston, was contested between incumbent Alexa Griffin and David Hernandez. Griffin also nearly secured two-thirds of the total ballots cast with 63.6%, winning 163 to Hernandez’s 93. 

“I cannot even begin to express my appreciation for all of the support that I received during this election. It truly means the world to me,” Griffin said. “I look forward to making sure that the Kellogg School District remains a safe and supportive environment for all children to receive a quality education, a safe work environment for our amazing teachers and staff, and a district that our community can be proud of.”

The race for Zone 5 had three candidates and was the lone trustee race that bled into Kootenai County. Encompassing the majority of Kingston, a small part of Pinehurst, Cataldo, Rose Lake and surrounding areas

Challenger John Schroeder defeated fellow challenger Melanie Carter and incumbent Felicia Cassidy. Schroeder received just under 50% of the votes in Shoshone County with 103, while Carter and Cassidy received 53 and 54 votes each respectively. Schroeder really pulled away once the Kootenai County ballots were added, securing an additional 98 votes to Carter and Cassidy’s 24 and 19 – for a final count of 198 votes for Schroeder, and 77 and 73 for Carter and Cassidy. 

The city of Kellogg saw two new challengers for the open city council position, as Lori Teeters firmly secured the seat over Ron Zetterberg, with 273 votes to 97. 

“I want to express to the city of Kellogg residents that voted for me how much I appreciate your support,” Teeters said. “An election is never won without the hard work and dedication of those around you, and I'm super fortunate to be surrounded by great people. I commend anyone that steps up to run for an elected position, it's not easy to put yourself out there, so kudos to all the candidates that ran, and a big congratulations to all the winners.”

The tightest race in the county belonged to the city of Osburn, as incumbent Laurie Richardson and challengers Ron Hood, Randy Cloos, and Jeremy Bergem all vying for two open four-year terms. 

Richardson secured the most votes of the four candidates, with 130 (32.2%), but the second seat was decided by just eight votes with Randy Cloos receiving 95 votes, beating Bergem (91) and Hood (87). 

The city of Wallace’s third council featured two new faces, but it was Cindy Lien who received 64.3% of the votes and beat out Christine Berry 103-57. 

The Kellogg Joint School District #391 two-year supplemental levy, totaling $5,916,800 – or $2,958,400 per year for two years beginning in the 2024/25 school year passed with heavy support from the district’s Shoshone and Kootenai County voters. 

In Shoshone County, 911 voters were in favor of the levy, while 486 voted against it. From a percentage point, the Kootenai County voters were in lockstep with their neighbors with 94 votes in favor, compared to 53 against. 

KSD superintendent Lance Pearson issued a statement on the district’s Facebook page on Wednesday, thanking everyone who voted in favor of the levy as well as thanking all of the candidates from the three trustee races. 

“Our community continues to demonstrate its unwavering commitment to our children. With the levy’s passage, the district can preserve its program offerings and current staffing,” Pearson wrote. “We are grateful to all of the local residents who voted and demonstrated their support for the Kellogg School District supplemental levy and trustee candidates.” 

The Wallace School District #393 two-year supplemental levy, totaling $3.4 million over two years passed comfortably, with almost 70% of the voters being in favor of the levy. 

The final tally was 416 in favor compared to 185 voting against it. 

“I understand that many of us are struggling to make financial ends meet,” WSD superintendent Todd Wrote on Wednesday. “Your willingness to make this extra investment in our education system does not go unnoticed. It is my promise that the Wallace School District will continue to use our levy funds as stated on the ballot.” 

Full Results

- City of Kellogg, Council Position 3

Lori Teeters - 273

Ron Zetterberg - 97

- City of Osburn, Council 4-year term (choose two)

Jeremy Bergen - 91

Randy Cloos - 95

Ron Hood - 87

Laurie Richardson - 130

- City of Wallace, Council Seat 3

Christine Berry - 57

Cindy Lien - 103

- City of Pinehurst, Mayor

Russ Lowe - 109

Skip Robinett - 230

- City of Pinehurst, 4-year term (choose two)

Nick Elam - 183

Kyle Ross - 234

Heather Bauer - 131

- City of Pinehurst, 2-year term

Jay Huber - 142

Brandon Church - 132

Dan Garner - 46

- Wallace School District 

2-year Supplemental Levy 

In Favor - 416

Against - 185

- Kellogg School District (includes Kootenai County)

2-year Supplemental Levy

In Favor - 1,005

Against - 539

- KSD Trustee Zone 3

Sam Gibbons - 236

Sarah Frohlich - 122

- KSD Trustee Zone 4 

Alexa Griffin - 163

David Hernandez - 93

- KSD Trustee Zone 5 (includes Kootenai County)

John Schroeder - 198

Felicia Cassidy - 73

Melanie Carter - 77

    Jay Huber
    Ross and his wife

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