Rognstad wins Sandpoint mayor’s race

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(Photo courtesy ANGELA COCHRAN) Some local Girl Scouts learned about the voting process and filled out sample ballots at Sandpoint Community Hall on Tuesday.

SANDPOINT — Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad has won reelection in a three-way race for the seat.

When the final ballots were counted at 11:17 p.m., Rognstad had 1,234 votes to Ken Lawrence’s 771 votes, and Shannon Williamson’s 498. Sandpoint City Council has five candidates vying for three seats. Results will not be official until canvassed. Incumbent Deb Ruehle will be joined by Kate McAlister and Andy Groat on the board with the trio winning the three seats up for vote. Ruehle had 1,418 votes, Kate McAlister had 1,644 votes, Andy Groat had 1,257 votes. Shannon Mitchell finished the night with 960 votes and Jacque Guinan had 801 votes.

In the race for mayor of Ponderay, incumbent Steve Geiger won reelection with 137 votes over opponent Tara Tribbett’s 35. There are two council seats up for election in Ponderay as well, currently held by Brenda Thompson and Gary Kunzeman. Thompson won reelection with votes; however, Kunzeman and Northside Fire Chief Brad Mitton both tied with 83 votes for the second seat.

Ponderay voters were also tasked with deciding whether to approve a five-year, 1-percent local option tax. The measure passed with 109 yes votes to 72 no votes. The additional tax will apply to goods and services within the city, though it would not apply to hotels or purchases larger than $999.99. The purpose of the proposed tax is to fund the city’s Field of Dreams recreation project and a safe public access to the lake via a railroad underpass.

In the city of Dover — the only other city with a contested race for mayor — Mike Davis won the seat with 196 votes over Freda King, who had 47 in the unofficial results. Dover’s current mayor Annie Shaha did not run for re-election. As the only candidates running for Dover City Council, Dan Parkin and Tom Williams will take over the two seats currently held by council members Woody Goodvin and Diane Brockway, who are not running for re-election.

In Kootenai, current Mayor Nancy Lewis is running unopposed, as is seat 4 council member Daniel Schock. Seat 2, being vacated by James Macha, has three candidates vying for the position saw Margaret Mjelde win the seat with 69 votes to 41 for Bryan Black and 25 for Fabiola Ferris.

In East Hope, incumbents Deborah Field and Ian Barrett won the two open City Council seats with 48 votes each. Phil Kuranz ended the night with 30 votes. In Hope and East Hope, current mayors William Breen and Vern Fleisher are running unopposed. In Hope, Bill Percy and Bruce Stutzke are running unopposed for the two open seats on council. A little further east in Clark Fork, incumbents Sharon Banning and Stanley Spanski were the only candidates on the ballot for the two open seats on council.

On the west side of the county, Priest River has two four-year seats and one two-year seat open on council. Incumbents Doug Wagner and Greg Edwards won reelection to the four-year positions over challenger Sean Schneider and write-in candidate Billy Mullaley. The unofficial showed Edwards in the lead at 112 votes with 83 for Wagner with 83. Schneider ended the night with 70 votes and Mullaley had 40 votes.

Kevin Wylie is the sole candidate for the two-year position vacated by Gary Stewart in July when he moved outside of city limits. Wylie was recently appointed as an interim council member as well. He received 157 votes.

Oldtown’s current mayor Lonnie Orr is running unopposed, as is Gary Stovall who is running for the only open seat on council.

In the West Bonner County School District, Zone 1 incumbent Margaret Hall won with 190 votes, while her opponent Lesa Souza garnered 131 votes. Zone 3, Troy Reinbold defeated incumbent Bruce Hollett, 133 to 95 in unofficial results. Todd Sudick is the sole candidate the Zone 5 seat currently held by Samuel “Ranger Rick” Hall, who is not running for re-election. In school district elections, unopposed candidates are not listed on the ballot.

In the Lakeland Joint School District, Randi Bain lost to incumbent Rena Olmstead in Zone 1. In Kootenai County, Olmstead had 245 votes and one in Bonner County for a total of 246. Bain received 174 votes in Kootenai County and five in Bonner County for a total of 179.

In Zone 2, Ramona Grissom defeated incumbent John Shaffer, receiving 342 votes in Kootenai County but none in Bonner County. Shaffer received 270 votes in Kootenai County and one in Bonner County.

In the Lake Pend Oreille School District’s Zone 4 trustee election, incumbent Geraldine Lewis won with 1,088 votes while her opponent Tara Tribbett received 339 votes. As the only declared candidate for Zone 1, incumbent Purley Decker was automatically re-elected without appearing on the ballot.

Voters approved making the school district’s current two-year, $25.4 million maintenance and operations levy permanent. In unofficial final results, the measure received 4,256 votes in favor, and 4,034 votes against.

The two-year, $25.4 million levy was approved by voters in March and makes up 35 percent of the district’s general fund budget for fiscal year 2020, which began July 1. The vote means that the district will be able to levy up to $12.7 million per year indefinitely. While the board can lower the amount in future years if state funding provided for it, they can not levy more without going back to the voters for approval.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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