By Cameron Rasmusson
Lukewarm turnout characterized the 2016 Bonner County primary elections, setting the stage for general election in November.
In state elections, District 1 Sen. Shawn Keough and District 7 Rep. Paul Shepherd bested challengers for the party nomination. However, District 7 Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll and District 7 Rep. Shannon McMillan lost to challengers Carl Crabtree and Priscilla Giddings. County elections saw Jeff Connolly and Dan McDonald win bids for the Bonner County Board of Commissioners, while Daryl Wheeler defeated Terry Ford in the primary election for Bonner County Sheriff.
At 33 percent turnout, voters weren’t exactly rushing to the polls. According to county election officials, that’s not unusual for primary elections in local and state candidates, which aren’t riding the increased draw of a presidential election.
Still, the day was not without controversy. County resident Betsy Canfield reported being turned away from the polling place at Northside Fire Station after being told she couldn’t change her affiliation to Republican. According to Bonner County clerk Michael Rosedale,volunteers at the polling place were indeed confused that unaffiliated voters could vote on a Republican ballot, and he set them straight before the big voter turnout at 5 p.m. However, Canfield and others were concerned that other unaffiliated voters were turned away for half the day.
As for vote totals, Keough defeated challenger Glenn Rohrer 4,140 to 3,291. Crabtree beat Nuxoll 2,504 to 2,383, while Giddings bested McMillan 2,848 to 1,798. On the Democratic side of the race, Stephen Howlett is leading Bob Vickaryous 408 to 390 after Bonner and Boundary County reported.
County elections saw Connolly beat Sudick 3,268 to 2,361, while McDonald won with 3,466 against Rich’s 2,020. Wheeler won the sheriff’s contest with 3,547 votes against Ford’s 2,443.
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