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Where business news starts in Boise.

Boise still has a runoff system for the mayor’s seat

Here’s a little quirk of Boise’s city government. To win the mayor’s job you have to get a majority of the votes.

Not just the most votes – a majority. As in, more than 50%.

In Boise’s history, only one runoff election ever took place. In 2003, David Eberle and three other candidates took on incumbent Paula Forney. Eberle and Forney both failed to get to the 50% mark, and a second runoff election took place about a month later.

Cost to taxpayers? $70,000.

In the wake of this, Eberle pushed for an end to the runoff for city council seats. The council at the time – 2006 – voted in favor of it. No more runoffs for the councilors

But the mayor?

Still a runoff. The Boise Weekly reported Eberle wanted to make a change to that election pool too. But it never happened before his time on the council ended.

So there it sits, Boise City Code, 1-9-4:

In the event no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, there shall be a runoff election between the two (2) candidates receiving the highest number of votes cast.

The runoff was the talk of the media during the 2003 election cycle in Boise – 16 years ago when Bieter first ran. He faced developer Chuck Winder, Ada County Sheriff Vaughn Killeen and business owner Max Mohammadi.

The runoff clause never triggered way back in 2003 – because Bieter beat all his competitors in the race with a majority. He beat Jim Tibbs in 2007 with 64% of the vote. He topped David Hall in 2011 with 74.3%. And four years ago he took in 68.8% of all votes over Judy Peavey-Derr.

This year, he’ll face dais-mate Lauren McLean, Matt Kilburn and Adriel Martinez. Plus, the filing deadline isn’t until August.

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