COEUR d'ALENE - Kootenai County Commissioner Rick Currie doesn't consider himself down and out yet.
After losing in May's primary elections, the third-term commissioner announced on Wednesday that he will be campaigning as a write-in candidate for the district 2 seat this November.
"I plan on going door to door," said Currie, 63, during a visit to The Press office. "We will be using everything at our disposal to get the message out."
The Coeur d'Alene Republican isn't discouraged by his May loss, he said, because of the low 22 percent voter turnout.
He pointed out that Jai Nelson won the district 2 primary with 36 percent of the vote, while Currie was just behind her with 32 percent.
"It was an extremely low turnout," he said. "Nobody got anywhere near 40 percent of the vote."
The idea to campaign as a write-in festered a week after the primary elections during a business trip to Twin Falls, he said.
"At night, you're in a motel room by yourself, and you have a lot of time to think," he said.
"I didn't feel bad about losing. I've lost other things before. But I felt I had let the citizens of Kootenai County down."
Several of his fellow Republicans have also prodded him to conduct a write-in campaign, he added.
"It makes me pretty proud," he said.
Chris Fillios, the Republican candidate who came in third for the district 2 seat in May, said Currie will need a lot of energy.
"I think running as a write-in candidate is a challenge anywhere, but I do think if he has a shot, he has it here," Fillios said. "He has been in the position. He has been elected a couple of times."
Fillios said he had considered running as a write-in himself, but discarded the idea when he heard rumors of Currie's plan.
"Part of the issue was the expense of running again," he said. "When I heard Rick was doing it, it didn't make sense for three of us to run. For now I will stand back."
Jai Nelson could not be reached for comment on Wednesday afternoon.
County Clerk Dan English couldn't remember a write-in candidate winning in Kootenai County before.
He pointed out that write-in candidates have a distinct disadvantage.
"Being a write-in, you really, really have to get your name out there, and educate the public on what it takes to have a write-in vote recorded," he said, adding that voters have to both fill in the oval for the district and spell the candidate's name in a phonetically recognizable way.
English said that county candidates have spent anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000 on campaigns.
"You're going to be at a competitive disadvantage not having your name on there (on the ballot). I certainly think he (Currie) would be talking an excess of $10,000 to run," English predicted.
A write-in campaign has been pulled off before in North Idaho.
Mitch Alexander won the 2008 election for Shoshone County sheriff as a write-in.
Alexander was quoted in past Press articles that he wore out a pair of shoes going door to door in his campaign. He also carried absentee ballot forms to every home he visited.
Alexander could not be reached for comment on Wednesday afternoon.
Currie admitted it might help his chances that he has been a commissioner since 2002.
"Obviously name recognition is extremely important," he said.
There are many county issues that still need work, he said, though he didn't specify which ones.
"I look forward to serving the citizens," Currie said. "I have a reputation for doing my research and getting my facts correct. I have a reputation for being open and honest, and that is extremely important in this position."
Nelson and Currie are currently the only candidates running for the district 2 seat.
"The residents of Kootenai County deserve a choice," Currie said.