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

Posted at 10:34 PM, Nov 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-12 17:27:47-05

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

Instead, he's attacking his opponent and her connection to the Democratic party .. and letting the people decide.

McGee had more votes than his opponents, but city ordinance says the winner must have a majority, which the state deemed to be 50 percent of the voters plus one.

McGee says he won't challenge the runoff in court.

"I think dragging the community through a bunch of challenges is not the right thing for our community," said McGee.

McGee complained that his opponent... Evangeline Beechler... who is the head of the Idaho Democratic Party turned the race partisan.

"The Idaho Democratic party has taken a non partisan election and made it all about attacking my past," explained McGee.

But attacking an opponent's past is generally how political campaigns are run. In the very next sentence, McGee goes partisan himself, saying, "My opponent is the head of the Democratic Party. Her views are not in step with the principles that define Caldwell and define this community."

McGee, once a rising star in the GOP, left the legislature in disgrace after being busted for DUI and facing a cloud of sexual harrassment allegations in the workplace.

He explains that he deserves a second chance, "Over the past five years, I have paid my debt and accepted responsibility."

Beechler says she can't do anything about whether voters are disturbed about McGee's past, "I think it's getting a lot more attention now and it's coming from the Caldwell residents because it wasn't something I brought up to the voters at all.."

The runoff election is tentatively set for Tuesday, December 3 but that date could change.
Meanwhile, the city has plans to clarify the language of its ordinance in the next few weeks.

Evangeline Beechler released a statement in response to McGee's comments Tuesday, saying:

"I welcome the opportunity to give the voters a chance to elect a city councilperson they can trust and to further discuss the issues Caldwell faces. I’m running to ensure Caldwell is a city moving forward where we all will want to raise our families.

The fact of the matter is that 60% of voters wanted someone other than my opponent to represent them. This runoff election is about making sure elections are as transparent as possible and all election rules are followed. As a Caldwell City Council member, I will always uphold city laws and ordinances and stay steadfast in making sure code that requires updating are addressed promptly. Ensuring our elections are fair and legal is an essential pillar of our democracy. We know the mayor, the city clerk and those elected have put forth tremendous efforts in elections past, all in good faith, just as they are doing now.

I look forward to talking directly with the citizens of Caldwell in the coming weeks about what they value most and the issues that face them every day."