Hayden residents might not agree which candidates they want in office, but on Tuesday the townspeople made it clear there was an overwhelming consensus on who they don't want running the show. The three Aryan Nations candidates, running for mayor and two city council seats, received only a handful of votes between them.
"We didn't vote for any Aryan Nations people, I can tell you that much," remarked Elizabeth Fees, as she left Hayden City Hall after voting Tuesday afternoon. Fees' comment resonated with a majority of Hayden residents, who feel the city's image has suffered enough because of the small group of Aryan Nations followers.
"We definitely came to vote out the Aryan Nations," said Carolyn Jones outside Hayden Elementary School. "We don't want them anywhere in this community, and we want to make that clear."
Richard Butler, Zach Beck and Karl Gharst ran for offices in Hayden's recent election to make a "last stand" statement about white supremacy in North Idaho and to garner dwindling media attention about their racist beliefs.
Butler, an 85-year old with ailing health, ran for mayor against current Mayor Ron McIntire and candidate Gordon Andrea. Butler is the founder of the Neo-Nazi Aryan Nations group, which was bankrupted in 2000. Both McIntire and Andrea have said their focus is on managing Hayden's rapid growth.
"I voted for McIntire," said Don Grunsted, after voting at Hayden Elementary. "He's already Mayor, plus he's been a good one." A majority of Hayden residents agreed, as he was reelected with more than 90 percent of the vote (with 80 percent of the vote counted).
"I've known Ron [McIntire] for 45 years," said Ron Jones, after voting to re-elect the Mayor. "He's one of the most upstanding guys around."
Karl Gharst, a follower of Butler, ran for city council seat No. 1 against Nancy Taylor and Ron Saterfiel.
"I voted for Nancy Taylor," said Kastorff. "I've seen her in meetings. She's intelligent and thinks about what she's doing."
But Stan Howerton, leaving Hayden Elementary after casting his ballot, said he voted for Saterfiel. "Because Taylor is against the Wal-Mart," he explained. That's the very reason Jerry Wall said he voted for Taylor. "I like her stance on Wal-Mart," he said outside Hayden City Hall.
Taylor was elected with about 60 percent of the votes.
Zach Beck, the 24-year old council seat No. 3 candidate, spent his election day in jail after allegedly assaulting a man last week. Beck allegedly punched a man in a grocery store parking lot after reportedly asking him if he was "Mexican."
Beck's only opponent, Chris Beck, is running for re-election. Zach Beck has said to the press that he hopes people will confuse him with Chris Beck and vote him into office. That didn't happen. Chris Beck won with more than 95 percent of the votes. When asked which Beck he voted for, Stan Howerton chuckled as he left Hayden Elementary after casting his ballot. "Chris," he answered, "Zach's in jail, so it's kind of a no-brainer."
But two candidates running against each other with the same last name was confusing for some, especially since neo-nazi stickers have been mischievously put onto Chris Beck's campaign signs.
"I didn't vote for either one. I didn't know which one is in jail," said Terri Bristow, after voting at Hayden Elementary. "I thought for sure it would have something beside their names [that would identify them], but there was nothing."