Not even close: Widmyer cruises

Widmyer posts easy mayoral win

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Steve Widmyer is congratulated by former state Rep. George Saylor, left, as preliminary numbers indicate a substantial lead in the City of Coeur d’Alene mayoral race in Widmyer’s favor during a celebration Tuesday at Fort Ground Grill.

COEUR d'ALENE - Steve Widmyer is Coeur d'Alene's new mayor.

"I'd like to get to work tomorrow. There are a lot of things that need to be done and I am looking forward to getting to work," he said. "Campaigns are a lot of talk and I have always been kind of a doer, so I'm just looking forward to getting some stuff done."

But he'll have to wait until he is sworn in on Jan. 7, 2014.

Widmyer walked away with almost 56 percent with 4,719 votes. Mary Souza won 42 percent with 3,556 votes and Joe Kunka got a little more than 1 percent with 132 votes.

Kunka said in earlier interviews that he received a tremendous amount of pressure to drop out of the race during the last week of the campaign. Most of that pressure came from Souza supporters who felt he was going to take votes away from her.

That didn't turn out to be case. Even with Kunka's votes, Souza still would not have won.

Souza declined to comment for this story, but she had a message for her supporters during a Reagan Republican campaign party at Fedora Grill. Souza was speaking to a standing-room-only crowd of supporters before the first results came in.

She told them that no matter how the election turned out, she was comfortable that she had done everything possible to win.

"Whatever happens I feel so peaceful about it," she said. "We have done everything that we can do and now it is in the hands of the voters. We can feel very, very good about what we've done."

Souza thanked her donors for allowing her campaign to act independently and avoid having to rely on media sources to get their campaign message out.

"Without that funding, we would have been at the mercy of media sources that we would have to pay way too much money for, and would not probably have gotten fair treatment," she said. "The funding allowed us to be independent. I want you to know we sent out a total of seven direct mail pieces on average to 4-to-5,000 households. That way we could get our message out the way that we wanted it out there."

The Reagan Republican crowd was upbeat and cheerful before the first results came in, but as more results started to come in the mood seemed to soften as their slate of candidates in Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls were not faring well.

By the end of the evening, none of their candidates had won. The Reagan Republicans did endorse Betty Anne Henderson for Post Falls City Council, but Henderson turned down the endorsement, saying it was not a partisan election. She won her seat with nearly half the votes.

By contrast, the energy at the Balance North Idaho campaign party held at Widmyer's Fort Grounds Grill was palpable. Widmyer poured drinks and shook hands with supporters. All of the candidates BNI endorsed and supported won.

Kunka said earlier Tuesday that he was not going to attend any parties, and would probably be in bed by 10 p.m.

"That's what I did last time. I went to bed and checked the results in the morning," he said.

Kunka said in an interview Monday that win or lose, he owed it to his supporters to get more involved in future city issues. He plans to find the time to do just that.

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