Manwaring: Pocatello continues ‘story of getting it right’ on election night
POCATELLO — In an election that saw much of Idaho run red, voters in District 29 elected Democrats to fill two of its three legislative seats.
Dustin Manwaring, the district’s only polling station and Republican pick, said districts that select lawmakers from both parties — so-called purple districts — are becoming extremely rare in Idaho.
“Voters choose candidates who best represent Pocatello values,” he told EastIdahoNews.com, adding that voters in District 29 took their positions based on candidates rather than party affiliation. . “It continues Pocatello’s history of doing it right – I’m proud of that.”
Manwaring retained seat 29A of the Idaho House of Representatives by a margin of 644 votes – 4% – over Democratic challenger Mary Shea. The final vote tally was 7,575 to 6,931.
Shea posted a concession on his campaign Facebook page, congratulating Manwaring on his victory. In the post, Shea expresses her hope that Idaho leaders will succeed in tempering extremist agendas while saying she will continue to champion women’s rights and bodily autonomy.
“I will continue to advocate for youth mental health. I will continue to advocate for our underserved populations. I will continue to speak out against those who are not honest or fair in their political speech,” she wrote in the post. “Stay informed. Stay engaged. Never give up.
Shea campaigned alongside fellow Democrats Nate Roberts and James Ruchti.
Roberts claimed the 29B seat in the House by a very slim margin – 7,321 to 7,209 – over Republican Jake Stevens.
EastIdahoNews.com attempted to contact Roberts for comment but received no response.
In his message after the release of the final election results, Stevens appeared to raise questions about the counting of votes – specifically mail-in ballots.
“The Elections Office waited until all Election Day votes were counted to count early and absentee ballots (non-standard procedure, usually early/absentee counted first),” the message read. “I received 56% of the votes cast on election day and my opponent received 43%. A lead of 13 points before the counting of the advance and postal ballots. Now, at 2:06 a.m., the count of early votes and mail-in votes is complete and I received 37% of those votes, which made me lose 112 votes. This is obviously not the outcome we were hoping for, and the circumstances are shocking and bizarre.
Stevens concluded his message by thanking those who supported his campaign.
With his win, Roberts claimed the seat currently held by Ruchti. Rather than running for re-election to the Idaho House, Ruchti ran to take the Idaho Senate seat in District 29, formerly held by his friend and mentor – Mark Nye.
Ruchti called Nye, who died in July, a representation of all that is best in a lawmaker.
“These shoes are big to fill, but it’s exciting to show that I can do something similar for Pocatello,” Ruchti told EastIdahoNews.com.
In the most open of the district’s three close races, Ruchti edged out David Worley by 1,185 votes (8%) – 7,863 to 6,678.
As of noon Wednesday, Worley did not release a concession statement.
Like Manwaring, Ruchti took Tuesday’s results as a strong message from voters in District 29.
“It was a large-scale rejection of the kind of campaigns my opponent and Nate Roberts’ opponent ran,” he told EastIdahoNews.com. “These campaigns were dirty politics at their worst – they were focused on burning social issues that don’t solve people’s real problems.”
Ruchti went on to say that in his new position in the Idaho Senate, he plans to work as he has for three terms as a representative – 2006 to 2010 and 2020 to 2022. He pointed to property taxes and public expenditure on education as its main problems. facing the people of Idaho in the immediate future.
Manwaring shared a similar view, saying that among his main goals at the start of his second term were reducing property taxes and keeping income taxes low. He added that he will focus on a spending plan for the $410 million recently added to the education budget while protecting southeast Idaho’s water resources.
As for his continued purple stance, Manwaring said he’s interested to see how things play out in Bannock County during the 2024 presidential election cycle.