Steve Johnson announces bid for Dist. 1 BOCC seat

By Zach Hagadone
Reader Staff

Four months ahead of the Tuesday, Nov. 5 general election, the race for Dist. 1 Bonner County commissioner took a turn with the announcement July 2 by Steve Johnson that he would seek the seat against Republican Brian Domke, who won his party’s primary in May.

In the announcement, Johnson’s campaign pointed to “several years of controversy, accusations and shutting down public input during commission meetings” as the reason why he is seeking the Dist. 1 BOCC seat, “vowing to return common-sense leadership to Bonner County.”

“I believe in open communication in order to move forward with any public policy,” Johnson stated in the announcement. “Government is ‘for the people,’ after all. Also, I am strongly committed to planned growth, conservative fiscal policy and a strong work ethic. I’m a proven attentive listener and I pledge to treat everyone with respect.”

Steve Johnson. File photo.

A lifelong Bonner County resident, Johnson is no stranger to local voters. In 2022, he initially filed as a Democrat for Dist. 1A Idaho House, then dropped out to register as an Independent write-in candidate against Republican Scott Herndon in his bid for Dist. 1 Idaho Senate.

Johnson’s effort in 2022 was one of the most visible and well-supported write-in candidacies in recent memory, drawing 9,025 votes to Herndon’s 13,064. 

He entered the 2024 election as an Independent — again running for Idaho Senate — and would have automatically appeared on the November ballot, but withdrew on June 10, which leaves that race between Republican Jim Woodward and Independent Dan Rose.

According to filings, the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office approved Johnson’s appointment of a treasurer on June 21, officially indicating he’d appear on the ballot for Dist. 1 Bonner County commissioner.

Meghan Yeats had been the Democrats’ standard-bearer for the Dist. 1 BOCC seat, running unopposed in the May primary. However, she is now listed as Johnson’s treasurer.

Johnson grew up on his family’s farm in Sagle and went on to graduate from Sandpoint High School. He worked as an educator and school administrator for more than 40 years, while also owning and operating several small businesses, including as a farmer. His children and grandchildren remain in the area, as well.  

He is a member of Sandpoint Rotary, and past member of the East Bonner County Library Board and the Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce.

The campaign highlighted Johnson’s experience, touting “a professional career of proven administrative success, an in-depth knowledge of both the history and growth of the county, and a commitment to provide citizens with openness and two-way communication through the commissioners’ office.”

In his announcement, Johnson returned to the theme of dysfunction within the BOCC.

“I’m shocked and embarrassed by the lack of respect displayed by the current commissioners,” he stated. “They have consistently disparaged each other and the public, and, in the process, have literally stood in the way of moving our fast-growing county forward during a critical time when attention needs to be paid to citizens’ needs — affordable housing, property rights, the comprehensive plan, roads, bridges, law enforcement, quality health care, education and so much more.”

All registered voters are eligible to vote for county commissioner candidates, regardless of district.

Learn more about Johnson at

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