Elections

Sven Berg: Bieter has two challengers in Boise mayor election

It’s hard to know how serious contenders Myron Gilbert and Seth Holden are about wresting the Boise mayor’s chair away from three-term incumbent David Bieter.

Both Gilbert and Holden have filed — Holden on Friday and Gilbert on Monday — the required paperwork to run for election to Boise’s highest office.

I haven’t heard anything about the candidates holding events to announce their candidacies, fundraisers or any other activity. Their declarations of candidacy don’t include telephone numbers or email addresses, so reliable options for getting a hold of them are limited to knocking on their doors and hoping they’re home.

A man named Myron Gilbert was Ada County sheriff in the 1960s. I’m trying to confirm the mayoral candidate is the same person.

The challengers have time to crank up their campaigns. But remember, they’re trying to unseat a mayor who, in three elections, has never come close to losing. Last time Bieter ran, in 2011, he beat his challenger by a margin of three-to-one.

There might be a current of dissatisfaction with Bieter running through parts of Boise, but come election time, it hasn’t yet showed up in the votes.

Beating him will take a lot of work. Most people aren’t going to vote — or even show up at the polls — for someone they’ve never heard of. Consider Councilman Scot Ludwig’s approach. Ludwig, who Bieter appointed to the council early this year, officially launched his first-ever campaign Wednesday with a party at Boise restaurant Berryhill & Co.

The list of groups and people on the invitation under the heading “Citizens for Ludwig — Host Committee” included developer Gardner Co., several members of the Oppenheimer family (also developers), City Councilwoman Clegg, Councilwoman and State Sen. Maryanne Jordan, City Councilman Ben Quintana, former Councilman Alan Shealy, banker Rob Perez, lobbyist Russ Westerberg and the local firefighters union.

Bieter was the special guest. People like former Idaho Attorney General and Lt. Gov. David Leroy showed up. Those kinds of connections and get-the-word-out events can make a huge difference come Election Day.

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