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BOISE — Boise City Council incumbents Lisa Sánchez and Holli Woodings and newcomer Luci Willits had sizable leads after all votes had been counted and unofficial results released in Boise's municipal election.

It's the first election since the Idaho Legislature passed a 2020 bill requiring cities with more than 100,000 residents elect council members by geographic district.

As a council member for District 1, Willits would represent West Boise, including the Centennial and West Valley neighborhoods west of Five Mile Road. Willits collected about 56% of the tally, or 3,133 votes, compared to Laura Metzler's 1,937 votes, or 35%. David Jones was third with 535 votes, or 9.6%. 

Willits, an executive at a North Carolina-based education research and analytics company, recently said the biggest challenge facing District 1 is a lack of representation in city government. “People live here, they love it here, but they often feel like they’re left out and their voice isn’t heard,” she said.

Sánchez would represent District 3, including a number of neighborhoods north of State Street, including much of the North End, the Highlands, Veterans Park, Pierce Park and Northwest Boise. Sánchez netted 57%, or 5,758 votes.

Greg MacMillan was second with about 37%, 3,720 votes, in a four-way race. Maria Santa Cruz-Cernik was third with 383 votes, or 4%, and Nicholas Domeny was fourth with 2%, or 199. 

Sánchez previously told the Idaho Press she represents the “working poor” or people who are “one crisis away from disaster,” and they need a spokesperson in city leadership.

“Housing is still a critical issue in Boise, especially the situation affecting renters,” she said. “Being a renter … provides a perspective that, I think, is critical on city council. What I bring to the dais is that same urgency that my constituents have.”

Woodings would represent District 5, which includes downtown, the West and East ends, Depot Bench, Central Bench, Morris Hill and the Central Rim. Woodings collected roughly half of votes, 3,315, in a four-way race. Challengers Katie Fite and Steve Madden were in second and third, with 21% (1,435 votes) and 19% (1,260 votes), respectively. J. “Crispin” Gravatt was fourth with about 11%, or 725 votes. 

During her campaign, Woodings said she hopes to improve access and affordability by concentrating housing near jobs. And she looks forward to investing federal COVID-19 relief in the city, implementing a new zoning code and designing a public process for redrawing council districts.

She previously told the Idaho Press that she wasn’t planning on running for a second term, but while sitting on the council during the coronavirus pandemic, she decided there’s more work to be done.

There are six Boise districts in all. This year’s race was for two-year terms, rather than the usual four. Only Boise residents who live in Districts 1, 3 and 5 could vote for council members. 

Ryan Suppe is the Boise City Hall and Treasure Valley business reporter for the Idaho Press. Contact him at 208-344-2055 (ext. 3038). Follow him on Twitter @salsuppe.

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