Lopsided vote surprises commissioner candidates

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    Duncan

COEUR d'ALENE — Democrat Ruben Miranda thought he had earned enough votes from Republicans to make for an interesting race on Tuesday.

That's why he was surprised about his lopsided loss to Republican Leslie Duncan in the bid for the District 3 Kootenai County Commission seat.

"I was hoping that it would be closer," Miranda said. "But this was one of those times the large turnout (73 percent) worked against us. I was surprised, but that's how politics go.

"Once it reached that point (with voter turnout), it was totally out of the candidates' hands and all in the will of the people and that was expressed."

Duncan, who defeated current seat holder Bob Bingham during the May primary, had 68 percent of the votes in the race against Miranda. She said she was also surprised at the margin of victory.

Duncan, whose background includes law enforcement and small business owner, is the current chairperson of the Aquifer Protection District.

"Citizens in Kootenai County value the quality of life they have and that quality is what draws transplants here," she said. "I'm passionate about protecting that quality of life."

Duncan said she's looking forward to learning more about the county operations and doing the best she can to serve the citizens.

Miranda, who is retired after 32 years as a chief information officer in the packaging manufacturing industry, was hoping his background as a planner and problem solver would resonate more with voters.

"I tried to present the concept that we've got to get away from politics," he said. "Ideologies have no place in county government because the impacts are too immediate. There are many Republicans who still vote the 'R' regardless, but if you're a lifelong member of a certain political group I suppose that loyalty is worth something."

Miranda said the race against Duncan was clean.

"There were no bad things said back and forth," he said. "I appreciate that."

Miranda said he spoke with a lot of Republicans with whom he came to some like-minded solutions.

"We need more of that," he said.

Miranda said he senses the political pendulum in Kootenai County is starting to shift even if it's not as pronounced as on the national level.

"I met a lot of moderates who are coming and some are even more progressive than many Democrats," he said. "I believe that will continue, especially if the economy continues to grow and we attract business."

Miranda said he would like to see the pendulum stop in the middle, however.

"I don't like when one party, even if it's my own, is in complete control," he said. "I believe we've missed out if we don't listen to the other side. The two parties should talk and compromise."

Miranda, who sought office for the first time, said it's too early to say whether he'll seek office again.

"I just finished one very hard campaign," he said. "My wife and I are going to take a vacation, and that's pretty much all I have in mind now."

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