Democrats fortified their foothold in Blaine County on Tuesday, as incumbent Angenie McCleary and candidate Dick Fosbury won seats on the three-member Board of County Commissioners.
Fosbury, a retired engineer and Olympic track-and-field gold medalist, earned 6,868 votes to Republican Mick Halverson’s 2,521 for the south county’s District 1 seat. Independent Debra Hall, a Bellevue real estate agent, finished third with 1,024 votes.
With the win, Fosbury will replace longtime Commissioner Larry Schoen, whom he beat in May’s Democratic primary.
The two-year term is the first elected post for Fosbury, who currently holds an appointed seat on the Planning and Zoning Commission. He lost his only other run for office in 2014, failing in a race for the District 26 House representative to Rep. Steve Miller, R-Fairfield, by 126 votes. That year, 12,696 people voted across all four counties in District 26.
On Tuesday, 10,413 people just in Blaine County voted in Fosbury’s race. Turnout dwarfed the last District 1 election, also in 2014, which saw 6,928 ballots cast in all.
Fosbury nearly matched that sum on his own. This year’s total has special significance for the Olympian, who won his gold medal in the high jump at the 1968 games in Mexico City, 50 years ago.
“I’m very gratified at the level of support, and chuckle at the symbolic number of votes, 6,868,” he told the Idaho Mountain Express in an email Thursday morning. “I didn’t realize my ‘Mexico68’ reunions would influence the elections.
“I’m looking forward to my new challenge, and the breadth of responsibilities.”
Fosbury spent most of Tuesday in the commissioners’ regular meeting, studying up for a job he was on his way to winning. Running that meeting: his soon-to-be colleague, Angenie McCleary.
McCleary will add another four-year term to her 10-year run as District 3 commissioner. The Ketchum Democrat defeated independent Mickey Garcia by a count of 7,619 to 2,180. Tuesday’s win marks the fourth time McCleary outran Garcia for the seat, adding to 2010, 2012 and 2016. She’s never earned less than 75 percent of the vote.
“I’m very happy, and particularly honored that the community decided to support me for another four years,” McCleary said Thursday morning. “I’m looking forward to continuing what I’ve been working on, and taking it a step further. Issues evolve. You can always do more. There’s still a lot of work to do, and I’m excited to work with the community to get it done.”
McCleary and Fosbury will join Commissioner Jacob Greenberg on the board. Greenberg, also a Democrat, has represented the mid-county since he took office in 2012. His current term expires in 2020.
There were no surprises farther down the local ballot, as races for clerk, treasurer, assessor and coroner only featured one candidate each. County Clerk JoLynn Drage and Treasurer John David Davidson, both incumbent Democrats, will stay on in their current roles. Democrat Jim Williams, who works as an appraiser in the Assessor’s Office, will take over for his retiring boss, Valdi Pace, as county assessor.
Coroner Russ Mikel also earned another term after running unopposed under the Republican banner.
Once again, he’ll be the only elephant in the room: following Tuesday’s results, eight of nine elected offices in Blaine County will be held by Democrats next year.