While most of America was glued to national elections news this past week, IAC has been tracking local and state election results in the Gem State. Both at the county and state level, turnover will be less than usual come January. At the county level, there will be 20 new county commissioners in 17 counties. Of the new commissioners, 13 were elected to an open county commissioner seat, four knocked off incumbents in the primary, and three defeated incumbents in the general election. Nineteen new county commissioners is less than the 30 or so new commissioners we see in a typical election year. Turnover was higher among county sheriffs, where ten counties elected new county sheriffs. Combine these 10 sheriff elects with mid-year appointments in Bannock and Boise Counties, and there will be 12 new sheriffs come January. In addition to commissioners and sheriffs, eight new prosecutors were elected. Additionally, Payette County recently appointed a new prosecuting attorney to fill the vacancy created when former prosecutor Ross Pittman was appointed to be a judge. Full county election results are available on the IAC website using the following link: https://indd.adobe.com/view/b12a6335-2cec-4f99-ac37-5bb5028bc11b.
Legislative turnover in the Senate will be minimal for the 2021 Session. There will be four new senators, with one each from Kootenai (Peter Riggs), Ada (Rep. Melissa Wintrow), Elmore (Rep. Christy Zito), and Bonneville (Kevin Cook). The House, on the other hand, will see a much higher turnover. Overall, there will be 18 new House members, half of which will represent a legislative district in Ada, Canyon, or Kootenai Counties. Retirements will also result in four new chair openings: House Revenue and Taxation, House Ways and Means, Senate Education, and Senate Transportation. New committee chairs will be announced after the Legislature holds its organizational meetings in early December.
There will now be three former county commissioners in the Idaho Legislature. Madison County Commissioner Jon Weber was elected to represent District 34 in the Legislature. Commissioner Weber will join former county commissioners Terry Gestrin (House Legislative District 8 Seat A) and Jim Guthrie (Senate Legislative District 28).
Lastly, Idahoans voted by a wide margin (67.95%-32.05%) to approve HJR 4. HJR 4 amends the Idaho Constitution by locking in the number of legislative districts at 35. Currently, the Idaho Constitution states that there must be a minimum of 30 legislative districts with a maximum of 35. By locking in the number of legislative districts at 35, there can no longer be fewer than 35 legislative districts in Idaho. This is important because this summer the Legislature will appoint a citizens commission on redistricting which will redraw Idaho’s legislative boundaries.