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Leeuwrik, Cheatum, Mansfield win bids for Pocatello council seats; mayoral race going to runoff

East Idaho Elects

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POCATELLO — The only change to the Pocatello City Council following Tuesday’s election comes with the departure of council chair Heidi Adamson.

Adamson’s decision not to run for re-election meant that seat 4 would be filled by a new council member. And with 43% of the vote, Josh Mansfield was selected to do so.

Mansfield was endorsed by both Linda Leeuwrik and Rick Cheatum, both of whom won their respective bids for re-election. Cheatum, who earned 68% of the vote, and Leeuwrik, who fended off two challengers collecting 45% of the vote, will each retain their seats.

In a phone conversation with Wednesday, Leeuwrik said that Tuesday’s results were “definitely” a good thing for the city.

“Last night’s results were what I really wanted, and what I believe we need to move forward,” she said. “I think Pocatello is in a good place right now, I think things are really starting to happen here, and I don’t want to see us lose that momentum.”

Leeuwrik spoke to her appreciation for the city voters and their trust in her moving forward, adding that she will happily work with the best interest of those who did not vote for her in mind as well.

She did win though, and believes that her race was a microcosm of the statement made by voters.

“To me (the results say) that my message resonated with people, and my opponents’ did not,” Leeuwrik said. “My message was a positive message — let’s keep building on our progress, let’s keep making good thing happen.”

While she admits that there are challenges facing the community, Leeuwrik stands by her position that the Pocatello city government is not in need of a complete overhaul, as she said some candidates suggested.

Leeuwrik watched results pour in alongside Cheatum, Mansfield and incumbent mayor Brian Blad.

“We were supporting each other. We didn’t run together, but we supported each other and endorsed each other,” she said, so it was thrilling to experience victory together.

The only thing that would have made the night perfect for the contingent, according to Leeuwrik, would have been a victory for Brian Blad, who finished the night with a voter majority — 46% — but not the 50%-plus one vote needed to win a mayoral race.

Because of that, Blad will face the next highest vote-getter, David Worley who received 34% of the vote, in a runoff election.

The runoff election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 30, according to a news release from the Bannock County Elections Office. Early voting will be available through the office from Friday, Nov. 12 through Friday, Nov. 26, the release says. The office will be closed Nov. 25 for Thanksgiving.

Leeuwrik said that she is supportive of Blad and is hopeful for his re-election. She will be assisting in rallying votes, not as a council member or even as a friend, but as a concerned citizen.

“I will be talking to people definitely, because I believe that he is what’s best for Pocatello,” she said. “I’m very scared about the alternative, I think that that is not what’s going to be good for our city — not going to take us in the right direction.”

A runoff election will also decide the next mayor in the city of Blackfoot, where incumbent Marc Carroll, who received 38% of Tuesday’s vote, will face challenger Craig Stuart, who received 32%.

The Bingham County Elections Office expects to announce a date for early voting some time next week, but the runoff election, like Bannock County’s, will be held on Nov. 30.