Former state lawmaker wins Caldwell City Council race

Former Idaho Republican state Sen. John McGee, who resigned in 2012 after accusations that he propositioned a female staffer, won a tightly contested race for Caldwell City Council.

With 100% of precincts reporting, McGee won 1,291 votes, or 39.2%. Evangeline Beechler won 1,005, or 30.6%, and Charles “Chuck” Stadick won 994, or 30.2%. Beechler ran unsuccessfully for Seat 3 on the council in 2017 and for state Senate in 2018.

McGee will occupy Seat 6, one of three open seats on Tuesday’s ballot.

Another former state lawmaker, Jarom Wagoner, won Seat 4. The former state representative and Caldwell city planner had 1,707 votes and 53.6% of the vote, beating Caldwell resident Chris Trakel, who had 1,476, or 46.4%.

The incumbent for Seat 5, Chris Algood, faced no challengers and received 2,890 votes.

“As a new member of the Caldwell City Council, I will continue to be proactive in listening to the voice of the community and partner with others to continue moving Caldwell forward,” McGee wrote on his campaign Facebook page just before midnight Tuesday. “Thank you to all those who were gracious enough to support me in this campaign. I am honored and humbled to serve you.”

McGee, now 46, went to jail for 39 days after he pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace in connection with the sexual harassment claim. He propositioned the staffer several times, including times when he grabbed her, when he asked her to perform oral sex on him, and when he locked the door to his legislative office in the Capitol and asked her to take her shirt off, according to police reports.

He was charged with felony assault and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

That came a few months after McGee pleaded guilty to drunken driving. McGee had been drinking at a golf course before he stole an SUV with a trailer, Ada County Sheriff’s Office officials said at the time, and crashed it in a yard.

After McGee announced his candidacy in September, he received endorsements from both nine-term state Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, and Caldwell City Councilwoman Shannon Ozuna, the only woman on the council. Ozuna’s seat, Seat 4, was on the ballot this year, but she did not seek re-election.

McGee is a Caldwell native and has lived in the city almost his entire life, including attending Vallivue High School and The College of Idaho. He and his wife, Hanna, run a firm called The McGee Group, which offers services in brand marketing, public relations and digital media.

Reporter Hayley Harding contributed.

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Investigative reporter Nicole Foy covers Latinos, agriculture and government accountability issues. She graduated from Biola University and previously worked for the Idaho Press and the Orange County Register. Her Hispanic affairs beat reporting won first place in the 2018 Associated Press regional awards. Ella habla español.