Incumbent Coeur d’Alene City Councilman Mike Kennedy won a narrow election to retain his seat.
The election was nearly a year ago, but on Monday afternoon retired Kootenai County District Court Judge Charles Hosack ruled that a challenge to Kennedy’s five-vote victory over Jim Brannon failed.
“The burden on a party challenging an election result is to prove facts that would have made a difference,” Hosack writes in a 20-page ruling. Brannon, through attorney Starr Kelso, did not meet that challenge, the judge says.
“The verdict is in and we have prevailed,” Kennedy says in a voicemail to The Inlander.
The trial lasted six straight days in September — with closing arguments held during a rare Saturday court session — and was followed intensely in Coeur d’Alene. The gallery was unusually well-attended, two blogs posted daily updates and one even ran a humorous fashion report.
From a pool of 22 potential illegal votes, Hosack says Kennedy’s lead went from 5 to 3. Various irregularities cited by Kelso during the trial did not prove illegal voting.
In fact, Hosack writes, “Having listened to six days of testimony, the Court is impressed by the complexity of the election process and at how well the County ran the election.”