Star Mayor Nate Mitchell was characteristically direct Wednesday in his day-after assessment of why he lost his bid for a fourth term.
“Because Chad got more votes than I did,” he deadpanned.
He was speaking of Chad Bell, the City Council president, who outpolled him in the mayor’s race with 63 percent of the vote, 864-512. Star’s voter turnout of nearly 43 percent was highest among elections in Ada County.
“I think the message is we just really need to move forward — and that’s what the issue really was for me, how does Star move forward,” Bell said.
Late in the campaign, an affordable housing development proposed for the downtown strip stirred up controversy, but not among the candidates or on the City Council, which voted unanimously to block the plan the day before the election.
“I don’t believe that there were any specific issues that swung this election one way or another,” Mitchell said. “We’ve all got a shelf life and apparently mine was up.”
Said Bell: “I think that issue was certainly a hot button in the last four or five weeks, but I personally don’t think it was a real large factor in the election. As far as the council and the mayor, there wasn’t any division or dissension.”
Elaborating on why he won, Bell said: “I think it’s just a matter of getting some new energy and getting vision and getting our town moving forward with economic growth. I think the people felt like fresh leadership, and new energy and new vision.
“I just really want to see our community get involved and get more united and be able to move forward, help the community grow economically. That was to me the biggest factor, the biggest issue.
“I do want to get some committees going. I have an economic development committee right now and I want to find the people in our community who have some expertise. We’ve got a lot of good businessmen, retired businessmen out there that certainly can help us in our pursuit of bringing business to town. I’d like to see these people involved and help us in that effort to move forward.
“I’d like to see a youth committee put together for our older youths, ages 13 through 18, to start helping plan some service and activities for our youth and our community.”
Mitchell, who works in the construction industry, will leave office at year’s end.
“I’ve got a job to do that the people elected me to do through the end of the year, and I’ll perform my duties there as best I can,” he said. “Come Jan. 5 it’s somebody else’s job to do, so I’ll get out of the way and open the next chapter of the book.”
Meet Chad Bell, Star’s next mayor
Job: Sprinkler business owner
Relevant experience: Star City Council president, former Council councilman
Family: wife, Reba; three daughters