TWIN FALLS • Challengers Don Hall and Jack Johnson beat incumbent Twin Falls county commissioners Leon Mills and George Urie in Tuesday’s Republican primary.
Hall got almost 62 percent of the vote and Johnson got 55 percent, according to unofficial results. Johnson will face Democrat Jill Skeem in the race for District 3 in the fall, and nobody else is running in District 2, meaning Hall will be the next commissioner, barring something unforeseen.
Johnson thanked the voters, and also Urie, who Johnson said ran a clean campaign.
“We’re very excited and we’re really pleased with the race that me and my campaign team ran,” Johnson said.
Hall attributed his win to being widely known and active in the community, to his support for economic development, and to his supporters, who he said ran a positive campaign.
“I really appreciate the support that I’ve received from the community, that they have the confidence that I will work very hard for them, and their confidence will not be undeserved,” Hall said.
Commissioners are required to live in zones based on population — District 2 takes in much of the city of Twin Falls, while District 3 includes a bit of the city but is more centered on the smaller communities to the east — but are elected at-large countywide. It is a full-time job in Twin Falls County, paying a little more than $74,000 a year.
District 1 is represented by Castleford Republican Terry Kramer, who wasn’t up for re-election this year. Terms are staggered, varying between two and four years in length.
Mills, who worked at a lumber yard and then at ConAgra before his election and has been involved in numerous volunteer efforts around town, was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014, surviving a challenge that year from independent candidate Tom Mikesell.
Hall, a U.S. Marine veteran and longtime Twin Falls city councilman who recently finished a two-year stint as mayor, is retired from the city police department and now works as a law enforcement instructor at the College of Southern Idaho. He plans to step down from the City Council in January, and the mayor would appoint his replacement, subject to Council confirmation.
Urie was a city councilman and mayor in Hansen before being elected commissioner in 2006. Johnson, who lives in Murtaugh, is chief deputy at the Jerome County Sheriff’s Office and unsuccessfully challenged Twin Falls County Sheriff Tom Carter in the 2012 GOP primary for sheriff.
Hall and Johnson ran independent campaigns, although there was overlap in support for the two of them.