Benewah official's district in doubt - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Benewah official's district in doubt

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Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012 12:44 am

Bud McCall has been a Benewah County commissioner for 34 years, and he has never had to campaign very hard to win. He has been that popular.

This time, his challenger, Republican Thomas Howard, is challenging not just McCall's re-election, but publicly questioning McCall's eligibility to again represent District 3.

Howard cites Idaho code, which says, a candidate "shall have resided ... in the district which he represents for a period of 90 days next preceding the primary election."

Howard said McCall - a member of the Democratic Party - lives primarily in St. Maries, which puts him outside the district he serves. (McCall also owns a home in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.)

McCall, however, said he lives part of his time in a trailer home in Fernwood, at 111 Isaacson, in District 3. That home is a few blocks from his shop, just off Highway 3, where he said he spends about 12 hours each day.

He said, "I spend most of my time here in Fernwood," where he was reached by phone Wednesday.

He added, "My wife says I spend all my time here."

He's had the place in Fernwood for five decades, he said. It's a place his late father owned originally.

"I have a lot of property around here," McCall said.

Confusing matters, the declaration of candidacy form signed by McCall says his address is: "Railroad Avenue, in Fernwood."

While there might have been a Railroad Avenue in Fernwood somewhere in the community's history, there isn't one now, said Howard.

Benewah County deputy clerk Lynn Ragan said McCall has been registered as a candidate on Railroad Avenue, in Fernwood, since 1971.

When asked why he was allowed to file with no specific address, she said, "There were a lot of people that back in the day would register at some place like Sixth and B Street."

That's an example of how it was back then, she said, but the clerk's office has been working to get candidates to provide updated addresses.

Ragan said County Clerk Michelle McDaniel has the authority to decide whether or not McCall's Fernwood trailer will be enough to place him in District 3 as a qualified candidate.

Howard said, "This is the purest case of election fraud, knowing that you don't qualify but continue to run."

Howard, 56, said he has lived in Fernwood for 13 years.

Doug Payne, the Benewah County prosecutor, said it's too late for McCall to withdraw from the race. That deadline passed.

If McCall wins, Howard can ask a District Court judge to rule on the question of McCall's status as a resident of District 3. Howard said he won't challenge if McCall wins big.

A judge would have to settle on a definition of "resided" within the context of a county commissioner race and Idaho code.

Payne pointed to the definition of "residence" in Idaho statutes for elections.

When determining the "primary place of abode," the factors to be considered include: Business pursuits, employment, income sources, location of property, motor vehicle registration, and where an individual takes their Idaho homeowner's exemption.

Payne added, "All the indicators lean toward McCall being a resident of the third district. The only thing that leans against him is the amount of time spent at his home in St. Maries."

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  • Benewah County Republican posted at 9:04 pm on Sun, Nov 4, 2012.

    Benewah County Republican Posts: 2

    I have heard people talk about and complain that Bud doesn't even live in the district he represents. We all know he doesnt live at his shop. The problem has been that nobody has ever ran against him. Well now we do have a republican candidate running against him and I hope that he does challenge this through the court system. I think it is wrong the way he has been treated by the local party. He was never allowed the opportunity to speak to the party members at any of the candidate forums, central committee meetings or any other republican party events.

  • jmowreader posted at 11:20 pm on Sat, Nov 3, 2012.

    jmowreader Posts: 1354

    This smacks of desperation.

    The Benewah County Republican Party has been trying to ethnically cleanse their county of Democrats, at least in elected offices, for decades. Bud McCall is the fly in the ointment: he is so popular in Benewah County, perhaps because he does a good job, he could change his registration from Democratic to Communist and still get reelected. Tom Howard will not defeat him at the polls, so he has to come up with this last-minute election challenge.

    The question that comes to mind is, if you are running to unseat one of the wealthiest, best-known, deepest-rooted people in Benewah County (which ain't exactly the most populated county in the state) and it took you until now to figure out where his thirty houses are, are you even marginally qualified to hold office?

  • Concerned in St Maries posted at 12:13 pm on Sat, Nov 3, 2012.

    Concerned in St Maries Posts: 2

    We have known Tom Howard for over 10 years. and know him to be a law abideing citizen. It is not within him to have perpitrated the things Pam Secord has accussed him of . she is going off of third hand information recieved from those who are afraid to oppose Bud McCall canidacy.
    Tom Howard would never knowingly be involed with a thieft ring and as soon as he descovered that fact he PROMPTLY contacted the victim about the items and coooperated with authorites to make sure the items where returned to her. If he had been in anyway involved he would be sitting in jail now .{for all those that have ever bought anything at a yardsale you could be accused of recieveing stolen items,you just dont know}
    As for the wood from the civic organization intended to help low-income and senior citizens get free firewood, I personally know that that wood was gotten for an elderly man and his wife [Tom and Marie Long} since deceased . who could not get it on their own. and Was"NOT "ever sold as Secord Claimed
    Pam Secord Really needs to get her facts straight.
    As for Bud McCall I agree with the person that asked Where does he sleep? did you know that his home owners exemption is in a shop in Fernwood. he Claims a 10 by 10 foot area in his business is where he lives when we all know his " REAL"home is north of St Maries.which is in district 1 not distirct 3.and as for his address GOGGLE it and see for yourself. McCall and Jack Buell have been buddies for years and have held the position of commisioners for over 30 years EACH. I find it supect that McCalls full page Ads are Bought and paid for by Buell. I feel that their reign of control needs to come to an end.
    Mysteriously Tom Howards champign signs have been disappering from the side of the roads ..hmmmm....

    Tom Howard has A heart of service for the community which is evident when reading about him on his web page at

    I beleive Tom Howard to be a Man of integrity and of upstanding moral standards...who will try his best to do what this county needs done not just what a few high powered officals use to further their businesses.
    Tom Howard just wants to see that the laws set forth by the state ,concerning county commisioner eligibility are followed .and we as citizens of benawah county should also what to see that done..

    A concerned citizen of St.Maries

  • 3Cheers posted at 10:33 am on Sat, Nov 3, 2012.

    3Cheers Posts: 423

    Where does he sleep? That's where he lives.

  • dasher posted at 6:50 am on Sat, Nov 3, 2012.

    dasher Posts: 187

    Talk about backwoods politics. "That's how it was back then." You mean last year? What a joke!

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