Election 2013: Winners emerge in close GBAD race

sberg@idahostatesman.comMay 22, 2013 

Downtown Boise.

  • GBAD RESULTS

    As of 1 a.m.

    Six-year term

    (Vote for two)

    Rob R. Perez, 19.4%

    Jim C. Walker, 24%

    Noah D. Bard, 3.4%

    Stephanie Astorquia, 19.6%

    Steve Berch, 22%

    John May, 11.3%

    Two-year term

    George Tway, 49.8%

    Peter Oliver, 50.2%

Peter Oliver was the only incumbent to hold on to a position on the Greater Boise Auditorium District's board of directors.

Oliver received 2,880 votes to claim the two-year spot, defeating challenger George Tway by just 19 votes.

Challengers Jim Walker and Steve Berch, who teamed up with Tway on a campaign brochure, won two six-year terms on the board. Walker emerged as the frontrunner early Tuesday night as votes were counted and never relinquished his lead. He received 24 percent of the total vote, with 2,647 ballots cast for him.

Berch won 22 percent, with 2,433 votes.

By 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, Walker said he believed he was going to win. He said the presumed victory vindicated his campaign and the work he put in learning the issues facing the district.

"The more I got into this race and the issues, the more excited I got to serve the city of Boise," he said.

Walker said the time for talking about what the district will do with its $13 million in savings and more than $2 million of yearly surplus income has ended.

"Action is what I ran on - making this a board of action," he said.

Whether that action ends up being a multipurpose baseball and events stadium, which Walker supported earlier and more vocally than any other candidate, a renovation of Boise Centre or some other project remains to be seen, he said.

Walker, a career firefighter, received the endorsement of Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, his longtime personal friend. Bieter encouraged Walker to make a this election his debut in local politics. Walker said he talked to Bieter about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, and the mayor said he was confident Walker would win.

Low voter turnout appeared to have bolstered the candidacies of two groups of candidates who teamed up in their campaigns: both the incumbents (Stephanie Astorquia, Rob Perez and Oliver) and the challengers (Berch, Walker and Tway).

John May was in fifth place and Noah Bard a distant sixth place behind members of the two groups.

The auditorium district, established in 1959, gets its money from a 5 percent tax on hotel bookings inside district boundaries, which roughly circle Boise.

The newly elected candidates figure to effectively begin their terms at the auditorium district's June 24 meeting.

The county has until the end of the month to certify Tuesday's results, after which the auditorium district has a few days to certify them, GBAD executive director Pat Rice said. After that, the winners have 10 days to take the oath of office.

Sven Berg: 377-6275

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