Shoshone County election recap

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Photo by Chanse Watson/ Privacy blinders set up at the Osburn VFW Hall for voter privacy and convenience.

WALLACE — Another election cycle has come and gone here in our little piece of North Idaho.

Although there were no ‘high profile’ national or state races on the ballot Tuesday, there were still a few local contested races that perked voter interest.

Starting on the east end of the Silver Valley, what many thought to be a tight mayoral race in Wallace turned out to be a landslide victory for town native and mail carrier, Lynn Mogensen.

Running against Wallace Planning and Zoning chairman, David Sherman, Mogensen received 173 votes (approximately 89 percent of vote cast) to Sherman’s 21.

After the election, she stressed that she is “really excited to get going and work with this crew.”

“I’m happy because I think we have a wonderful council, city clerk, and city crew, and I think really good things are going to happen,” she added.

During her time as mayor, Mogensen said she wants to see more transparency within the city and put a new emphasis on bringing businesses to town.

In general though, she wants to keep “status quo because I think Wallace has been moving along very well.”

The Wallace mayor position became open after current mayor Dick Vester decided to retire after this year.

On the city council side of things, 1313 Club owner, Dean Cooper, held onto the position that he has held since 2003 by beating out “Friends of the Coeur d’Alene Trails” president, Jon Ruggles.

Cooper received 149 votes (approximately 81 percent of votes cast) compared to Ruggles’ 35.

“I’m just glad to be able to do another four years,” Cooper said.

Referring to the road and sewer construction that has been going on in Wallace, he also mentioned that with this win, “it’ll be nice to see those projects all the way through.”

Cooper is also looking forward to working with the new mayor.

“It’ll be great, Lynn and I have known each other for years and it will be nice to work with her.”

Making our way west, the city of Osburn was the center of two incredibly interesting races.

Two years after their first attempt to get a new firehouse was rejected by the voters, Shoshone County Fire District No.1 (SCFD1) got the go-ahead by residents in the district to start construction.

Sporting a $1.9 million price tag, the approved bond will cover the cost to build a new fire house on land already owned by SCFD1 on the east side of Osburn.

Voters that live in District No.1 (this includes residents of Osburn, Silverton, and a select few in Wallace) were allowed to vote on the purposed measure.

All three precincts reported more “Yes” votes than “No” votes (Osburn- 176 to 107, Silverton- 79 to 16, Wallace- 30 to 11, and Absentee- 15 to 9).

That gave the “Yes” option a 300 to 143 win over “No” (approximately 68 percent of the votes cast).

Aaron Cagle, SCFD1 Chief, was pleased to see so many in the community not only supporting the firefighters, but also supporting themselves in the long run.

“It means so much to us,” Cagle explained, “but it will mean more to the future generations.”

Cagle also gave a huge nod to the former fire chief and the fire commissioners who initially got the ball rolling.

“We’re just continuing this legacy,” he said.

The second race in Osburn was a unique four-way write-in race for two open city council positions.

Former Osburn Police Chief, Charles “Spike” Angle, took the first position by receiving 117 votes (approximately 40 percent of votes cast).

Silver Valley native and former Forest Service employee, John Specht, scooped up the second position by receiving 77 votes (approximately 26 percent of votes cast).

Incumbents Jack Rupp and Randy Cloos received 63 and 34 votes, respectively.

The Osburn City Clerk’s Office explained that the incumbents, Randy Cloos and Jack Rupp, ran as write-in’s because both candidates failed to turn in their registration paperwork on time to the county courthouse.

In the big city of Kellogg, School District No. 391 (Kellogg School District) was looking to pass a supplemental levy to replace the one that expires in 2018.

With 424 “Yes” votes to 217 “No” votes (approximately 66 percent of votes cast), they certainly got it done.

Broken down by precinct: Kellogg- 138 in favor of to 75 against, Wardner- 22 to 18, Smelterville- 17 to 26, Pinehurst- 149 to 52, Kingston- 88 to 40, and Absentee- 10 to 6.

Woody Woodford, Kellogg Superintendent, was humbled by Tuesday’s results.

“Obviously, we’re very very pleased and very appreciative of the communities support.”

He added that, “we just wanna thank the community for continuing to support our schools and our kids.”

Lastly, the City of Pinehurst held a race for two open city council positions.

Incumbent Nancie Burkhart retained her position by receiving 97 votes (approximately 33 percent of votes cast) and Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office Captain, Jeremy Groves, took the second with 113 votes (approximately 38 percent of votes cast).

The third candidate, former County Commissioner, Larry Yergler, received 84 votes.

Due to overlapping voting districts (IE residents from one city being able to vote in their city elections, but residents from multiple cities being able to vote in the levy and bond elections), a total county voter turn-out percentage could not be calculated.

But individual race/ city percentages showed relativity decent turn-outs.

Wallace had 54.5 percent of its 409 registered voters cast a ballot (meaning they voted for at least one candidate).

Osburn saw 34.2 percent of its 795 registered voters come out for the city council race.

The firehouse levy brought out 28 percent of the 1,587 registered voters that reside in Fire District No.1.

Only 18.3 percent of the 3,499 registered voters that reside in the Kellogg School District area participated in that race.

The Pinehurst City Council had 23.7 percent of the city’s 752 registered voters cast a ballot.

City’s where all candidates ran unopposed for their positions showed mostly low voter numbers.

Mullan (mayor and two city council seats), Kellogg (mayor and four city council seats), and Smelterville (two city council seats) all posted turn-out numbers below 17 percent (all were unopposed races).

Of the 28 candidates running for an elected position in Shoshone County, 17 ran unopposed and won their races automatically.

Wallace and Wardner (an unopposed race for mayor and three unopposed races for city council seats) were the only cities to post turn-out percentages above 50 percent.

2017 election statistics were provided to the News-Press by the Shoshone County Clerk’s Office.

For our election night break down of the contested race results, visit

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