Lawerence Denney

Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney

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BOISE — Four legislative incumbents were defeated in Idaho’s primary election on Tuesday night, but the initial reports posted on election night by the Idaho Secretary of State’s office only showed three.

Secretary of State Lawerence Denney’s office corrected the results on Wednesday morning, to show that in eastern Idaho, former Rep. Karey Hanks actually had defeated first-term House incumbent Jerald Raymond; the results posted the night before showed Raymond had won, 53% to 47%.

The three other incumbents who lost in the primary were:

  • Second-term Caldwell Rep. Jarom Wagoner, who lost to retired Caldwell educator Julie Yamamoto.
  • Second-term Idaho Falls Rep. Bryan Zollinger, who lost to mental health professional Marco Erickson.
  • First-term Rexburg Rep. Britt Raybould, who lost to former Rep. Ron Nate.

“Well, y’know, the election night reporting is a new program,” Denney said Wednesday, “and certainly we’re definitely sorry that things happened, but that’s really not a fault of the software. It was human error, the mapping and not getting all four counties included in that.”

“We don’t like that kind of mistake, but they do happen,” Denney said. “And the results are unofficial.”

District 35 in eastern Idaho includes four counties: Butte, Clark, Fremont and Jefferson.

“The data that Fremont County had sent us was not mapping correctly for the results page, so what it was showing last night was not correct,” Deputy Secretary of State Jason Hancock said Wednesday. “That was something we discovered this morning, that the numbers were not in there for Fremont County.”

“So what you’re seeing there now is the final unofficial results,” he said. They show Hanks with 50.76%, or 4,870 votes; to 49.24% or 4,725 votes for Raymond. That’s a margin of 145 votes.

“It was just something that the folks we had looking at it, we missed it,” Hancock said. “We just missed the mapping of these races.” In addition to the Hanks-Raymond race, the Senate race in the district also was affected and the numbers changed, but it didn’t change the outcome.

“We checked out all of them on last Friday,” Denney said, “and we just missed that one county in the mapping on getting it put into that district. … So yes, we will double check everything next time. But that’s hindsight.”

Several other legislative races around the state that weren’t clear on election night due to slow reporting in two counties included the District 23 Senate race, in which second-term Rep. Christy Zito, R-Hammett, defeated rancher and longtime Owhyee County Treasurer Brenda Richards for the seat vacated by the retirement of Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, 56% to 44%. Zito will face Democrat Laura Bellegante in November.

Also, Kootenai County in North Idaho, which still had no results reported at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday Mountain time, submitted its results shortly afterward; there were no upsets.

Doug “Doug O” Okuniewicz defeated Tim Kastning 53% to 47% for the District 2 House seat formerly held by Rep. John Green, who was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Peter Riggs won a three-way GOP primary for the Senate seat in legislative District 3 vacated by the retirement of Sen. Don Cheatham, R-Post Falls; he defeated former Kootenai County Commissioner Marc Eberlein and Alex Barron, the self-described “bard of the American Redoubt,” in a three-way race. No Democrats filed for the seat, so Riggs, son of physician and former GOP Lt. Gov. Jack Riggs, will be the new senator.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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