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Trustee winner lost no sleep

by MAUREEN DOLAN
Staff Writer | November 4, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - The winner of the tightest election race in Kootenai County wasn't up all night Tuesday biting his nails waiting for the election results.

Ken Howard, winner of Seat A on the North Idaho College Board of Trustees, was in bed before midnight, when his opponent Ron Nilson still had a slight edge.

"I've waited for too many juries to come in," laughed Howard, a longtime Coeur d'Alene trial attorney.

At 12:40 a.m., Howard began to pull ahead of Nilson.

He didn't know he had won the election until 5:30 Wednesday morning, when his daughter, after checking the Kootenai County results online, woke him up with a phone call from Boise.

When the final results were reported from all 75 Kootenai County precincts at 5:11 a.m., voters favored Howard over Nilson.

Howard received 16,221 votes, 51.6 percent, to Nilson's 15,211, or 48.4 percent.

"I'm excited about having the opportunity to serve," Howard said. "It's one of those things I think is an honor, and I plan to fulfill that trust."

The trustee position Howard won is being vacated by longtime board member Rolly Williams.

Incumbent Christie Wood easily defeated Robert Ketchum with 59 percent of the votes, 19,870, to 41 percent, 13,637.

Wood, who has served on the community college's board for six years, said she is grateful to voters for allowing her to continue in a leadership role at NIC.

"We have much to be proud of at the college, and many more challenges and opportunities are ahead," Wood said. "I wish Dr. Ketchum well, and appreciate the fact that different viewpoints are healthy for a community."

Ketchum, the former director of NIC's Workforce Training Center in Post Falls, expressed gratitude to those who voted for him and helped with his campaign.

"I wish Christie Wood well in her next term. She ran a strong and positive campaign, and the college will be in good hands moving forward."

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