John McGee wins Caldwell City Council Seat 6 in unprecedented runoff election

Posted at 10:25 PM, Dec 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-04 15:54:38-05

CALDWELL, Idaho — John McGee has won the race for Caldwell City Council Seat 6.

The City of Caldwell announced the runoff election for Caldwell City Council, Seat 6 back in November after a question was raised over what constitutes the majority needed to win.

Related: Controversial former lawmaker John McGee wins seat on Caldwell City Council

The Canyon County Elections Office initially decided that no runoff was required, based on Idaho Code 50-412, which states "the candidate with the highest number of votes shall be declared elected.” Under Caldwell City Code, members of the city council will be elected by a "majority of the qualified electors as established by Idaho code."

The issue? The code didn't define what a majority is.

Related: Idaho's Election results coverage 2019

The Secretary of State's Office and the Office of the Idaho Attorney General gave input to this original decision, reading the applicable ordinance and statutes to mean that a Caldwell City Council candidate has to receive more than 50% of all votes in order to win the election.

Related: City of Caldwell conducting unprecedented runoff election for Caldwell City Council, Seat 6

In past races for Caldwell City Council, candidates have taken office after receiving less than 50% of the vote. The City Attorney's Office has stated that because those candidates took office in good faith under previous application of City Code, that they hold their offices legitimately.

McGee said he's grateful for the opportunity to serve.

"They want to talk about Caldwell's future and what we are going to continue to do for the future of Caldwell," he said. "Hanna and I are just really humble and grateful that they elected us in such overwhelming fashion."

6 On Your Side originally reported that John McGee had won the seat with 39.24% of the vote in the November 5 General Election, but because of the confusion, he faced off against Evangeline Beechler for a runoff election.

Beechler's campaign released a statement in response to McGee's win, which reads:

"We set out to have conversations with neighbors in every corner of Caldwell and we were successful. We wanted to stay focused on the residents of this great city and we were successful in elevating issues and voices that are often ignored or cast aside. I implore Mr. McGee to listen to the needs and wishes for every Caldwell resident. No matter their political beliefs, affiliations or ideologies; every person in this city deserves to have their voice heard by those elected to represent them. We also hope that Mr. McGee will honor the second chance that the majority of voters who participated in this runoff, have given him. We urge him to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to best represent those who live here, those who have been harmed by this election, and those who currently do not feel safe with his return to elected leadership. I owe a debt of gratitude to the volunteers and supporters who made this campaign the people-powered campaign it was. I want to thank my family, friends, neighbors and every single person who cast a ballot for me tonight, your trust is a responsibility I will carry daily and cherish."

Related: McGee declines to sue over change allowing runoff election in Caldwell City Council race

Former Idaho attorney general David Leroy claimed the runoff election for Caldwell City Council is illegal, but even so, his client, John McGee said he wouldn't fight for his victory in court.

Here's the breakdown of the votes for Caldwell City Council Seat 6 (100% of Precincts reporting):

Evangeline Beechler--1,340 (39.27%)

John McGee--2,072 (60.73%)