North Idaho Slow Growth

Research and Information


    Election Analysis 2021: Kootenai County Races


    The purpose of this report is to analyze the influence of multi-candidate races and absentee voting on final election outcomes, when unseating pro-growth incumbents. The influence of KCRCC endorsements is also noted.

    In order to evaluate anti-incumbent sentiment in multi-candidate races, statistics are considered for "all challengers". Data for individual challengers, in 2-way races, and all challengers in multi-way races, are shown in red. Data for Incumbents or "establishment" candidates is shown in blue. Winners are indicated in boldface.


    • 26.17% of voters cast Absentee ballots.
    • 3 of 4 races had multiple challengers.
    • Incumbents won with 49-51% of the vote in all races, even the 2-way race.
    • All Challengers won in-person voting handily, but lost by large margins in absentee voting.
    • All third-place candidates got less than 6% and could have been "spoilers".
    • All Challengers Vote Total 48-50%
    • All Challengers Absentee 29-31%
    • All Challengers In-person, election day 57-59% (+28 spread vs absentee)


    • 29.09% of voters cast Absentee ballots
    • Low Growth Challenger defeated KCRCC endorsed Challenger for Seat 2
    • Incumbents were handily defeated in both 2 and 3 way races.
    • All Challengers Vote Total 67-70%
    • All Challengers Absentee 55-63%
    • All Challengers In-person, election day 71-73% (+13 spread vs absentee)


    • 22.85% of voters cast Absentee ballots.
    • Two of four races had multiple challengers.
    • Incumbent Mayor won with 81% of Vote.
    • All three Incumbent Council members were defeated by KCRCC challengers.
    • All Challengers Vote Total 60-69%
    • All Challengers Absentee 41-52%
    • All Challengers In-person, election day 65-74% (+22 spread vs absentee)


    • 23.45% of voters cast Absentee ballots.
    • All races had multiple challengers.
    • Incumbent defeated for council seat 1.
    • KCRCC endorsed candidate defeated Low-growth candidate for council seat 3.
    • All Challengers Vote Total 66% (Race with no incumbent, excluded)
    • All Challengers Absentee 56%
    • All Challengers In-person, election day 68% (+12 spread vs absentee)


    Unpopularity of Incumbents—In every city but Coeur d'Alene, almost all incumbents were swept from office by large majorities. Even in CDA all incumbents lost in-person, election-day voting, and were barely saved by absentee ballots and multi-candidate races. However, the loss of CDA is an enormous blow to the slow growth movement, since CDA is where much of the out-of-control growth is currently happening. It is essential to keep the pressure on Coeur d'Alene representatives, and to plan ahead for future elections.

    Multi-Candidate Races—In the past, city elections have not been given the attention they deserve by voters, but this is likely to change. City candidates are not required to declare their candidacy until two months before the election, which does not allow enough time for screening, endorsing, and organizing effectively. Low Growth activists and candidates need to take it upon themselves to declare early, and work together to replace or defeat pro-growth candidates. A County wide Low Growth PAC should be in place before the next election.

    Absentee Voting—In all races, the incumbents did much better in absentee voting, than in in-person voting, and in the case of CDA, the lopsided Absentee votes won the day. The Absentee vs. in-person spread was as follows:— CDA: 28%, Hayden: 13%, Post Falls:22%, Rathdrum:13%. Slow-growth activists need to figure out the reasons for this and take measures to bring absentee voting in line with in-person voting.

    Note: After further research, we found that the Civic Engagement Alliance of CDA and several other groups were very active in the early weeks of the campaign, and they heavily promoted early absentee voting, as opposed to in-person voting. They claim to be non-partisan, but seem very well funded and their material directed people to register to vote and obtain ballots online, and to “vote early.”  We would like to know more about who in the area is explicitly promoting absentee voting and why. 

    KCRCC vs. Low-Growth—This is a complicated problem. The KCRCC endorsed both low-growth and pro-growth candidates. However, in its literature, it claimed to support low-growth. The problem is KCRCC does not have a well-thought platform for low-growth, but frankly, neither does the low-growth movement. In all of our defense, the enormous pressure on housing prices over the last year caught almost everyone off guard. We need to put our heads together and figure out a constructive way forward. The first step was to focus on November elections, but in the next year, we need a consensus on what we are working toward. But Low Growth should not be Anti-KCRCC, and KCRCC should not be anti-low growth. There were a few unfortunate conflicts that caused a great deal of tension during the current election, but we should bury the hatchet and try to co-operate in good faith as much as possible going forward.



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