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Reflections on the Primary Election

The morning after an election is always bittersweet. Of course, we celebrate the winners and sympathize with candidates we supported who did not win. Yet, regardless of the outcome, we thank every candidate for running for office. This act of public service is difficult, and it requires a huge personal sacrifice.

Here are the May 17th Kootenai County Primary Election Results as reported by the County Elections Office. The results for the precinct captain races are at the bottom of this report.

The big news for local Democrats is that the Kootenai County GOP’s bad faith effort to take over our Central Committee elected just two individuals suspected of being fake Democrats. In other words, their plot failed. In fact, it generated increased enthusiasm among Democrats and generated 50+ new Precinct Captains. Your new 2022-24 Kootenai County Democratic Central Committee will convene this evening, May 18, 2022, at 6:30pm to hold its bi-annual organizational meeting and elect new officers. There will be a zoom link distributed today, and as usual, the public is welcome to attend.

Other Election Developments

We are looking into whether a poll worker in Precinct 312 made a one-time mistake when she handed a GOP ballot to Democrat Kathy Schnell. There is no evidence of a pattern of intentional mishandling of wrong ballots. Yet, this type of error points to the greater safety and reliability of mail-in voting.

Rognstad’s Write-in Campaign Failed

Unfortunately, Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad’s campaign for governor failed to garner the votes needed to beat Steven Heidt. Ironically, the necessity for running as a write-in candidate stems from Rognstad’s failure to reregister as a Democrat in time to qualify for the 2022 Democrat Primary Ballot. In other words, he like other Democrats had previously switched his party affiliation to vote in a Republican Primary Election and had never switched back. The resulting confusion is just one example of the potential danger of the practice of party switching.

County Commission Loses Public Servant

We say farewell to the centrist Republican County Commissioner Chris Fillios, who lost to GOP extremist Bruce Mattare. Word has it that Mattare makes Brent Regan look like a moderate. For conservative mainstream politicians like Fillios, it might be more fruitful to run as an Independent or a Democrat.

Lessons that Emerged from this Election

  • The bad faith effort by the KCGOP to take over our Central Committee did not just fail, it also backfired. In fact, thanks to their meddling, we recruited and elected 50+ Real Democrats as Precinct Captains.
  • Poll workers are fallible. Early mail in voting is safer and more secure.
  • Write-in campaigns are exceedingly difficult to win even with a viable candidate.
  • Party shifting can be problematic and ill-advised.
  • Mainstream Republicans may want to run as Independents or Democrats to build and harness a broad coalition of moderate and liberal voters that crosses party boundaries.

What’s Next

Now that the Primary is behind us, it is time to get to work on building a coalition of voters for the November General Election. This effort takes all of us working together. So, in the coming weeks, please commit to volunteering for door-knocking, phone banking, or texting. When our Volunteer Coordinator Michelle Lippert calls you, please find a way to give us a couple of hours each week. If we all chip in, we can elect a Democrat from Kootenai County.

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