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Politics & Government

Election 2019: Boise Mayor’s Race Heads To Runoff, Local Results From Around Idaho

James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio
Polls close at 8 p.m. in Ada County.

Ada County Live Results

Update — 2:11 p.m.

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter released a statement in response to the November 5 election results. It read:

The results from last night's election made one thing clear — the people of Boise need more time and a robust dialogue to determine who their next mayor is. It's not a surprising result in a field of seven candidates — in fact, I welcome the opportunity to distinguish myself even more with my main competitor, Council Member McLean.
Over the next 4 weeks, we will work even harder to bring this election to more Boiseans so they can determine who they trust with the future of our city. On December 3rd, people will cast their ballots again and I have faith, together, we will make Boise the most livable city in the country.

Update — 12: 50 a.m.

For the first time in Boise mayor history, there will be a runoff election — which means no one candidate got more than 50% of the votes.

Mayor Dave Bieter has held the position for 16 years, but last night he only pulled in about 30% of the vote, while City Council President Lauren McLean got closer to 45%.

Bieter seemed caught off guard by the results, not willing to talk about the possibility of a runoff.

"We did everything we set out to do and then a little more, so you got to trust that over the course of the counting that's going to play out," he said.

State Senator Maryanne Jordan, a Boise Democrat who supports Bieter, said a lot is up in the air heading into the runoff.

"It's important to not lose sight of the fact that he has done so much for Boise and a shiny new object might not be the best path forward," she said.

At her own party on the Bench, McLean encouraged people to keep up the momentum as the next election approaches.

"And we can make history, if we give it our all in the next four weeks," she said. "They are going to come at us with everything."

The runoff election is scheduled for Tuesday, December 3.

Update — 11:51 p.m.

Click 'play' to hear the audio version of this update.

Boiseans have overwhelmingly said they want a voice when it comes to the future of library and sports stadium projects in the city. Unofficial results for Boise propositions 1 and 2 show them winning by more than two thirds of the vote.

James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio

One requires citizens to vote on any future library projects costing more than $25 million. The second puts any sports stadium project on the ballot if its price tag is higher than $5 million, regardless if that cash comes from taxpayers or private developers.

Both initiatives were backed by the group Boise Working Together, which is led by Adelia Simplot and a group of city activists.

They were spurred by that they say was a lack of transparency surrounding the projects from Mayor Dave Bieter and city officials.

Bieter's proposed new main branch library has been on hold due to rising costs. Current estimates peg that at $104 million. Developers of a potential new minor league baseball and soccer stadium have been quiet for months.

Update — 11:30 p.m.

Click 'play' to hear the audio version of this update.

In Twin Falls, three incumbents won their seats for city council. That includes current Mayor Shawn Barigar. The council will choose who will be the mayor for the next two years in January.

In Ketchum, city council incumbents also came out on top. But in Hailey, two challengers gained the incumbents’ seats. Those two candidates are Sam Linnet who is 30 years old and Juan Martinez who is 27.

In Twin Falls, a majority of voters supported the $25 million jail bond, but the measure failed because it did not receive the necessary two-thirds supermajority. That threshold was reached in Ketchum for its new $11.5 million fire station.

Update — 10:55 p.m.

Update — 10:44 p.m.

Update — 10:28 p.m.

Update — 10:19 p.m.

More than halfway through precincts reporting, campaign headquarters for Lauren McLean is still lively and crowded.

Credit Madelyn Beck / Boise State Public Radio
Boise State Public Radio

And the Basque Center is filled and buzzing as supporters and volunteers await the remaining ballots.

Credit Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio
Boise State Public Radio

Update — 9:33 p.m.

With 30% of precincts reporting, Lauren McLean still leads the race for Boise mayor with 45% of the votes. Dave Bieter follows close behind at 31%, with Rebecca Arnold in third with 12%. As we wait for more results to roll in, there have been early talks on a potential runoff for this race.

When asked for his thoughts on the likelihood of a runoff, Bieter said it was too early to make such a call.

"It's too early to say, it's just too early to say, you know. We just don't even talk about it and just go like the Dickens and if we got to get up and do it again, we'll do that," Bieter said on election night.

Credit Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio
Boise State Public Radio
Jason Shuey attended Bieter's election party at the Basque Center in downtown Boise.

Jason Shuey is a Boise firefighter spending his election night at Dave Bieter's watch party. 

"It has been a really crowded field and it's kind of changed this election compared to some of the elections in the past," he said. "What we have tried to do specifically is to go out and really put out as much effort as we can to help push Mayor Bieter across the finish line here."

Update — 9:07 p.m.


Voter turnout across Ada County has been high this year, and Boise State Public Radio News caught up with voters at polling places across Boise. 

Jeff Jacobs wouldn't say who he voted for for Boise mayor, but said for him, it was a race between Mayor Dave Bieter and Boise City Council President Lauren McLean.

"Either of them would make a good mayor for Boise, the alternative to those two however, I didn't really see as viable candidates," Jacobs said.

Susan Tistinic is 73 and moved to Boise from Tacoma, Washington a couple of years ago.


"I ended up voting for Bieter, but I was really leaning toward Lauren McLean," she said. "We're fairly new here, only been here a couple of years, but talking to our kids and they talked up Bieter so much and I said well, they probably know better, they know his history."


Boise resident Javier Morawski voted for Rebecca Arnold.

"I don't like our current mayor and she seemed to be the most reasonable," he said. "She's more of a conservative than I typically would vote, but she doesn't seem to be in the pockets of anyone right now."


Update — 8:57 p.m.

Photos from the field show Lauren McLean's headquarters, where supporters are encouraged to get a pin, then head next door to Alpenhaus Deli for a beer and a bratwurst, where it's standing room only.

Credit Madelyn Beck / Boise State Public Radio
Boise State Public Radio
McLean's headquarters on the Bench.

Credit Madelyn Beck / Boise State Public Radio
Boise State Public Radio
The McLean watch party is in full swing at Alpenhaus deli.

Kate Knothe is a Boise resident and she voted for the first time today. Not only did she vote for McLean, but she's spending in her gap year between high school and college helping out the campaign.

"So I spent the last semester just kind of working and volunteering for McLean's campaign," she said.

Knothe was one of many attendees at McLean's watch party on the Bench.

Update — 8:21 p.m.

A sampling of early voting and absentees counted in Ada County show Lauren McLean with a slight lead (42%) over Dave Bieter (36%).


Boise State Public Radio is bringing you the latest updates on the 2019 elections happening around the state, including the race for Boise mayor and the ballot measures on the Boise library and the stadium.

We'll be updating this post throughout the night with check-ins from our reporters in the field. Reporters Samantha Wright and James Dawson are hosting live coverage on Boise State Public Radio News (91.5) .

We'll be keeping a close eye on the Boise mayoral race and the seven candidates vying for the city's top job, as well as the other mayoral races happening in Ada County. Throughout the night we'll also be checking in with Rachel Cohen on the elections for Blaine County School District and the Twin Falls City Council.

Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio