The Boise political landscape got a jolt Tuesday evening when Boise City Council President Lauren McLean topped incumbent mayor Dave Bieter by nearly 16% at the ballot box.
Boise city code says that if no candidate gets 50% plus one vote (a majority), a runoff will be held with the top two vote-getters. McLean pulled down 45.7% of the vote, to Bieter’s 30.3%. The remaining 22% of votes were spread between Rebecca Arnold, Brent Coles and three other people.
After a long morning with no activity from the Bieter campaign, his campaign manager released a statement on his behalf just after 2pm.
“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,” Bieter said in the prepared statement. “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.”
We caught up with McLean moments after the statement came out. After reading it, she said it was “not surprising” and would have further comment shortly. She added more in a written comment to BoiseDev:
“I’ve known that people want a robust dialogue: I’ve been personally having that conversation for months,” McLean wrote. “(I’m) happy to continue the conversation, and encouraged by a clear mandate for a more responsive, transparent style of leadership.”
Earlier in the afternoon, McLean appeared on Idaho Matters on Boise State Public Radio.
“One never goes into a race with expectations,” she said. “I knew when I decided to run in response to what I’d heard in the community that something was going on and people were looking for something new.”
“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,” Bieter said in the statement. “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.”
The mechanics of a runoff
The Boise City Clerk and Ada County Clerk are working to put together the second election, to be held on December 3rd.
- Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane said his office aims to have all of the same polling places from the November 5th election in place next month.
- Early voting will be held in the two weeks calendar weeks before the runoff, just as with the general election, though the early voting sites will not be open on Thanksgiving, November 28th. The Ada County Elections office on Benjamin Dr. and Boise City Hall will both be early voting sites.
- Any voter who requested an absentee ballot for the general election will automatically receive one. McGrane said anyone who won’t be able to vote in person on December 3 but didn’t vote absentee in the general election can request an absentee ballot for the runoff.
- You did not have to vote in the general election to vote in the runoff.
- The Boise City Clerk’s office said that the city will reimburse the county for costs associated with the runoff. The Boise City Council will have to approve the budget change since the money is not allocated in the current budget.
- McGrane said he expects the cost to be about $100,000
- Financial disclosures from the candidates will be due on November 26th, and will cover any new contributions since election day.