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Bonner County's Republican Candidates

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Bonner County's Republican Candidates

These people want your vote in the contested races in this May's Republican primary



It’s an embarrassment of riches for Bonner County Republicans as they head to the polls for the primary this May 15. A full fifteen Republican candidates will be vying for six positions: both seats in the Idaho House of Representatives, a senate position, two county commissioner seats and the position of sheriff. And that’s just the contested races! In an effort to provide information for voters heading to the polls, we asked those candidates in a contested race for the Republican primary to answer a question for you. Their responses are below. In addition, we have included whatever contact information that was made available to us for these individuals, so that if you choose, you can get in touch with them directly to learn more. Don’t forget—the Republican primary in Idaho this year is a closed primary! In order to vote, you’ll need to officially register as a Republican for the purposes of this election. (This does not effect your voting in November in the general election.)

The website of the Bonner County Clerk (http://tinyurl.com/838sk4v) has information on polling times and places, absentee voting, maps of where to vote, the party affiliation declaration form, dates for some candidate forums, and a list of all candidates for a position (not just those running as Republicans). Sandpoint Online’s “Election Central” (http://tinyurl.com/2afosll) also has information on the 2012 primary election. 

Due to the large number of candidates, we have only included information on candidates in contested positions (all Republican) for the primary.



Candidates for Idaho STATE SENATE District 1 include incumbent Shawn Keough, and challenger Danielle Ahrens. Candidates for Idaho HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Seat 1 B are incumbent George Eskridge and challenger Pam Stout. The question asked of these candidates was: Legislative District 1 has been very lucky to have two legislators on JFAC, the powerful budget-writing committee. In the case of the incumbents, please describe three specific situations showing how you were able either to further or to protect the interests of North Idahoans due to your influential position. In the case of challengers, please describe at least three specific instances in which you believe your opponent took a position detrimental to the interests of your constituents.

Sen. Shawn Keough responded: 1) As Idaho went into the economic downturn I, along with the Senate JFAC (budget committee) co-chairman, was able to convince our leadership and our Governor, that holding the K-12 budget harmless as long as possible would be a good priority.  We did so for a full 3 years. No other state agency was spared cuts in this time frame except for the budgets for our vulnerable populations. Keeping the K-12 budgets intact for as long as possible kept requests to raise local property taxes for lost funding lower than they would have been otherwise and minimized disruption in the system that provides education to a majority of our children.

2) This year, I worked with the Senate JFAC co-chairman to change the funding stream for the new technology requirements in the K-12 reforms. When passed last year, the money for the new technology came out of the salaries line item. This caused school districts to either cut teachers and increase class sizes or to increase the amount of supplemental levies on the local property tax payers or both. We were successful in fixing that unfunded mandate this session and will now be providing a new stream of money for that mandate, thus relieving cuts to staff and increases in property taxes to fund the technology.

3) I worked to establish the Priest Lake, Priest River, and Pend Oreille Lakes Commission (known as the Lakes Commission) which is our local voice for water quality and water quantity issues in our area. I’ve worked to secure funding for this as well and though we temporarily de-funded it last year because of the downturn in our economy, Rep. Eskridge, Sen. Broadsword, and I were able to re-fund it this year and put it into the base budget which will make funding more secure over time. The local, volunteer commission members have been instrumental in making sure our water stays in our lakes, our water quality issues are being addressed and that our voices are heard on lake level issues.

Shawn Keough


Shawn Keough, Incumbent

for State Senate District 1



[email protected]


Challenger Danielle Ahrens responded that due to the short notice for this question (candidates had five days to respond) and because her Internet was down for a day, she was unable to answer the question and thanked us for the opportunity. 

Danielle Ahrens


Danielle Ahrens

for State Senate District 1



Rep. George Eskridge responded: 1) For the general fund appropriations for FY 2009-FY2012 I supported prepared budget recommendations for the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee that resulted in an overall reduction of 14.5 percent in General Fund Appropriations for state agencies.

2) I supported JFAC appropriations recommendations to the legislature that were ultimately approved and saved enough money to support a reduction in maximum corporate income tax from 7.6 percent to 7.4 percent, and the individual income tax rate for taxable income over $20,000 from 7.8 percent to 7.4 percent.

3) I supported and assisted in preparing JFAC appropriations recommendations to the legislature that were ultimately approved and allowed restoration of the state’s cash reserves by about $49.5 million.

George Eskridge


Rep. George Eskridge, Incumbent

for State Legislature House Dist. 1B




Challenger Pam Stout responded: At a time of economic uncertainty, the JFAC Committee assumed that revenue will increase in the year to come.  The current budget was increased to $2.7 billion. State spending increased early in the 2000s due to increased revenue. This year’s budget is 35 percent greater than the FY 2004 budget of $2.004 billion. It is irresponsible to increase spending during these difficult economic times.

Pam Stout 


Pam Stout

for State Legislature House Dist. 1B



Candidates for Idaho HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Seat 1A include incumbent Eric Anderson, and challengers Donna Capurso and Louis Kins. They were asked: Do you believe that ethics reforms are needed in the Idaho Legislature, and what specific proposals would you make to enforce improvements in the standards of conduct and behavior required of legislators and other state officials?

Rep. Eric Anderson replied: Yes the Idaho Legislature is in need of ethics reforms and I will address the House of Representatives in my response. I helped draft a proposal last year that would have taken the appointment of an ethics committee away from the Speaker of the House and placed it with the body as a whole. Each party would elect two members to sit on an ethics panel, and they would oversee any complaints filed by any member of the House. They would serve for one year and then new elections would be held. Any complaint filed from outside of the House would be heard by a committee formed under the direction of the Attorney General’s Office, and they would determine the merits of the complaint and whether it was valid. If so, it would be forwarded to the House Panel for a full hearing. I am fully aware that this methodology may need some additional tweaking, but it is imperative that we have that debate and establish greater confidence and transparency in the conduct of our affairs.

Eric Anderson


Rep. Eric Anderson Incumbent

for State Legislature House Dist. 1A



Challenger Donna Capurso replied: I believe that ethics reform is most definitely needed. Until last year a member of the public could file an ethics complaint, but that rule has been changed where only a legislator can file a complaint against another legislator. There is no venue for a citizen to file a complaint against a legislator, which I believe is wrong. Also, when ethics complaints only go through the legislature, they can easily be swept under the rug. I would suggest an ethics commission comprised of members of the public as well as members of the legislature. Thorough training should be undertaken by those ethics commission participants so that competent, fair and non-political decisions can be made.

Donna Capurso


Donna Capurso

for State Legislature House Dist. 1A



Challenger Louis Kins did not reply to our question, and I’m not confident he received this question in a timely manner. Kins has made no personal contact information available. Please see his website listed underneath his photo. 

Louis Kins


Louis Kins

for State Legislature House Dist. 1A


BONNER COUNTY SHERIFF. There are three candidates on the county ballot for the position of sheriff: Incumbent Daryl Wheeler, and challengers Tim Fry and Shawn Winker. The River Journal was unable to obtain contact information for Shawn Winkler, and he therefore did not receive the opportunity to answer this question. The remaining two candidates were asked: What does a ‘constitutional sheriff’ mean to you?  Can you subscribe to a ‘nullification doctrine’ without selective enforcement of laws duly passed by a legitimate legislative authority?


Sheriff Daryl Wheeler responded: A constitutional sheriff is someone who knows how to apply the law in our Federalist governmental structure. At times, the various jurisdictions of local, state, and national governments are at odds with one another. Executive orders, court decisions and regulatory rules have made a mockery of our nation’s by-laws, the Constitution. The Constitution has not been followed for over 100 years. Because of this, we have gotten ourselves into many difficult situations and the tension between jurisdictions is ever increasing.

I think that it is a good thing that many people are realizing the folly of ignoring the checks and balances that the Founders put into place. However, we need to exercise great caution in unraveling the mess.

I believe the best approach is for the executive and legislative branches in each jurisdiction to work together to solve the dilemma. For instance, if the national government is acting outside its constitutional jurisdiction it is the job of the state legislature and governor to push back. If the state is acting outside its constitutional jurisdiction it is the job of the county commissioners and sheriff to act in concert.

Let us use wisdom as we return to the principles of our Founders.

Darryl Wheeler


Sheriff Darryl Wheeler, Incumbent

for Bonner County Sheriff



Challenger Tim Fry responded: A “Constitutional Sheriff” is a Sheriff who follows the admonition found in Article VI, section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, insofar as he “shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution,” and who understands that the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land.

No Sheriff has the authority to nullify any law duly passed by a legitimate legislative authority. That being said, a clarification as to what constitutes a duly passed law can be found in the 16th American Jurisprudence, Second Edition:

“The general misconception is that any statute passed by legislators bearing the appearance of law constitutes the law of the land. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land, and any statute, to be valid, must be in agreement ... The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it ... No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.”

Tim Fry


Tim Fry

for Bonner County Sheriff



Twitter: @Fry4Sheriff


Challenger Shawn Winkler did not have the opportunity to respond to this question.

There are three candidates for the position of COUNTY COMMISSIONER Dist. 3: Incumbent Lewis Rich, and challengers Sage Dixon and Cary Kelly. In District 1 there are two candidates: incumbent Cornel Rasor and challenger Joyce Broadsword. All candidates were asked: Do you believe that the recent discord among various county elected officials has been detrimental to the efficient and effective conduct of the People’s Business, and, if so, if elected, what would you do to improve the situation?

Incumbent Lewis Rich responded: I do believe that the discord involving Marie Scott, Cheryl Piehl and the other two county commissioners is very real and unproductive. The issue of disrespect of the fact that the Clerk and Treasurer are elected officials and are on equal footing with all other elected officials, with the exception of budget controls, is the case or point of dissension. The other two commissioners have totally isolated the BOCC relationally with our chief budget officers. We have gotten an opinion from prosecutor Louis Marshall stating the statute often quoted to give the BOCC absolute control over any and all elected officials and department heads is in disagreement with Nielsen’s and Rasor’s opinion. I don’t know how to effectively fix the problem without changes to the BOCC makeup. As far as the dissension between the commissioners themselves, I can truthfully say it has involved less than 3 or 4 percent of the county’s official business.

Lewis Rich


Lewis Rich, Incumbent

for Bonner County Commissioner Dist. 3



Challenger Sage Dixon responded: I do believe the recent discord has been detrimental to the efficient conduct of the “People’s Business.” It appears an inordinate amount of time has been spent devising ways to combat a perceived injustice instead of working towards a mutual understanding, and far too much information that could have remained private has been presented publicly with the sole intent, apparently, of political leverage. More damaging, perhaps, is the public’s cynicism towards government and the impression that elected officials are only concerned with themselves. I believe this discord is the expected result of elected officials remaining in office too long and seeking to maintain that position instead of putting a priority on executing the “People’s Business” to the best of their ability. 

If elected, I will continue my habit of treating others as I wish to be treated; with respect and yet being held accountable for the work I am required to perform. As no conflict is one-sided, open and direct communication is essential to avoiding misunderstandings and the grudges that tend to fester without reconciliation. There will be inevitable disagreements as to policy, but my focus will be on serving the citizens’ interests and not political alliances.

Sage Dixon


Sage Dixon

for Bonner County Commissioner Dist. 3




Challenger Cary Kelly responded: The current discord among current elected officials is unproductive, time consuming, unnecessary, and has the potential to become very expensive. The situation is not only affecting the commissioners, but has spread to other elected officials. It has led to a break down of communications and coordination, and now two elected officials have requested their own lawyers, at government expense, to be present when dealing with the commissioners. In addition, this discord has led to an unhealthy work environment and low morale among county employees. The elected officials involved in this discord are good, hard-working, talented, intelligent employees who are dedicated to serving Bonner County. I see no reason why reconciliation cannot be achieved with the proper leadership.

If elected, the first week in office, I will have a one-on-one meeting with each elected official to discuss his/her statutory requirements, near term and long-range goals, and what obstacles are ahead. Most importantly, I would ask each one what I could do as commissioner to assist in attaining those goals. I would assure them that they are essential, appreciated, and have my full support. It’s one thing to say that I support them, but it’s another to prove it by actions and decisions. That will take some time, but it will happen.

Cary Kelly

Cary Kelly

for Bonner County Commissioner Dist. 3






Incumbent Cornel Rasor responded: The allegations of discord have been overstated. The substantive business of the county has been attended to very well. If elected, I will continue my current actions. For example, after meeting with Marie Scott twice last week discussing budgets, she stated at the conclusion of one of the meetings “You know Cornel, although we differ on many things you always treat me like a gentleman should and I appreciate it.”

Cornel Rasor


Cornel Rasor, Incumbent

for Bonner County Commissioner Dist. 1



Challenger Joyce Broadsword responded: The situation at the County Administration Building is not good for anyone. I believe we were all raised to treat others with respect and in the same manner, we would have them treat us in return. I have a proven track record of working with diverse groups and individuals and finding common ground. There is no doubt in my mind I would be able to treat all county workers—elected or not—with the courtesy and respect they deserve. I feel my experience and demeanor would add a calming influence over the situation and if elected I will work to find a common sense solution to resolve the problem.

Joyce Broadsword


Joyce Broadsword

for Bonner County Commissioner Dist. 1



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Landon Otis

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Headlines, System Homepage, Politics, Senator Shawn Keough, Lewis Rich, Donna Capurso, Cornel Rasor, Pam Stout, Sage Dixon, Louis Kins, news, republican primary, Danielle Ahrens, Representative George Eskridge, Representative Eric Anderson, Sheriff Darryl Wheeler, Tim Fry, Shawn Winkler, Cary Killy, Joyce Broadsword

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