Carroll wins in Blackfoot, Casper maintains mayoral seat in Idaho Falls

By Kendra Evensen, kevensen@journalnet.com

Blackfoot will be getting a new mayor next year, while Idaho Falls will continue under the same leadership following runoff elections on Tuesday.

Blackfoot’s incumbent mayor Paul Loomis lost to his challenger, Marc Carroll, by 132 votes in a close race. Although he came out ahead in the November election, Loomis didn’t get the 50 percent plus one majority required to win the seat, leading to the runoff election between the top two contenders.  

Loomis, who has served in office for one term, congratulated Carroll on his win on Tuesday, and he said he plans to work with him as the city transitions to its new leadership in the weeks ahead.

“The city will be in good hands. Marc will do a great job,” Loomis said.

Carroll said he has been friends with Loomis for the past four years and he knows the current mayor will help him as they move forward.

“I’ve got my own plans for different things, but I know Mayor Loomis will be there to help with anything I need,” he said.

He said he was humbled by Tuesday’s win, but he also thought it was unfortunate that the turnout was so low. He hopes to look for ways to get more people out to the polls in the future.

Danette Miller, elections director for Bingham County, said only 26.4 percent of registered voters came out to the polls on Tuesday. She was hoping for more, but she thinks the cold weather may have deterred some people.

Bonneville County elections officials agreed. They had a better turnout there, with more than 33 percent of those who are eligible to vote in the city participating. Still, they too were expecting a stronger turnout.

Incumbent Mayor Rebecca Casper was able to take a significant number of the votes on Tuesday, garnering 5,304. Her challenger, Barbara Ehardt, a current city councilwoman, claimed 3,417 of the votes.

Ehardt said Tuesday night that she was disappointed in the results, but she absolutely believes in the process.

“I have tried to stay true to my messaging and the reasons why I felt it was important to run,” she said. “I was impressed to see just how many people were motivated to turn out in a runoff election so as to allow their voices to be heard. I can respect their decision.”

Casper was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday night.