City to pay for runoff election

BLACKFOOT — The City of Blackfoot will have to pay an estimated $6,000 to have a runoff election Dec. 6 after Butch Hulse narrowly missed the number of votes needed to obtain a majority of the votes in the three-person city council race.
Hulse, who received 49.7 percent of the vote and Clair L. Broadhead, who received 37.4 percent of the vote, are running for Seat 4 on the city council. The position pays $5,040 a year plus benefits.
Under state law the city is responsible for the expenses incurred by Bingham County in conducting the runoff election including the costs of printing ballots and the wages of election judges, clerks and county employees performing duties associated with conducting the election.
In 2005, when both the mayor and city council candidates failed to reach a majority, the city contracted with Bingham County to run the election, City Clerk Suzanne McNeel said. At that time the cost was $5,000.
Mayor Mike Virtue said the runoff election is required by city ordinance and state law, but that the council will likely review the city ordinance and the need for a runoff election early next year.
Councilman Farrell Cammack said he intends to bring up the issue before the council for review.
"We'll take a look at it and see what other cities have done," Cammack said. "It's an extra cost and I'm not sure it's worth the cost."
Both Hulse and Broadhead intend to continue campaigning in the hope of winning the council seat.
Hulse said he is not disappointed with the result—he garnered the most votes—but that he will need to regroup and start working toward next month's election.
"I'll just do the best I can to still win the seat," Hulse said. "It's just going to take me a month longer than I'd hoped."
Broadhead also hopes to get the word out to garner more votes in the runoff election.
"I do want this job," Broadhead said. "It's down to two people now. Whoever has the most votes wins."
He said unlike national elections, votes do count in local elections and just a few votes can make a difference, as demonstrated here.
"This is one election their votes do count," Broadhead said.