Runoff elections set Tuesday in Blackfoot, Idaho Falls

By Kendra Evensen, kevensen@journalnet.com 

Runoff elections in Blackfoot and Idaho Falls Tuesday will determine who will serve as each city’s next mayor.

Incumbent Mayor Paul Loomis is running against challenger Marc Carroll for the Blackfoot post. In Idaho Falls, incumbent Mayor Rebecca Casper is running against City Councilwoman Barbara Ehardt.

The candidates were the top contenders in their respective races during the November election. But none garnered a large enough majority to win. That’s why the candidates must face off one more time in the runoff elections.

The elections, which will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., are open to residents who reside within the Blackfoot or Idaho Falls city limits, regardless of whether or not they participated in the November elections. Even those who haven’t yet registered to vote can do so Tuesday before weighing in on the races.

Danette Miller, elections director for Bingham County, said Monday that 355 people had already come in early to cast their vote or had voted absentee. She’s hoping many more will participate Tuesday.

Loomis, a U.S. Army veteran who has served as Blackfoot’s mayor for four years, garnered 782 votes during the November election.

Carroll is a political newcomer, but has frequently volunteered in his community and held many leadership positions. He received 484 votes during last month’s election.

Miller says it’s important for people to cast their vote for the candidate of their choice since this is a new election and none of the earlier votes count. The candidate who receives the most votes Tuesday will win.

And since there were two additional candidates in the earlier race, there could be hundreds of votes up for grabs.

Brenda Prudent, Bonneville County’s elections supervisor, said nearly 1,500 people voted early in Idaho Falls and more than 400 had requested absentee ballots.

She says this is the first mayoral runoff that they’ve had in Idaho Falls, and she’s expecting a good turnout.

“If the cold weather doesn’t deter them, we’re expecting a high turnout. There’s very high interest out there,” Prudent said.

Casper, who has served as the mayor of Idaho Falls since 2014, received 5,357 votes during the November election.

Ehardt, who has served as a city councilwoman for four years, garnered 3,058 votes in November.

There were three additional candidates in that race, so there are thousands of votes that could go to either candidate this time around.

Prudent encourages voters in Idaho Falls to participate in the election and exercise their freedom of choice.

“Every vote counts,” she said, adding that a mayoral candidate only needs a simple majority to win this time around. “One vote could be the one that turns the tide.”