Little Competition to Be Mayor of Boise

Sep 19, 2011

Jim Weatherby sits in front of a coffee shop across the street from Boise’s city hall. He’s Professor Emeritus of Political Science for Boise State University. As he sips his coffee, he glances at the backside of city hall. He says it’s puzzling why there seems so little interest in landing the office on the third floor where Mayor David Bieter sits. Bieter has one challenger in his bid for a third term. That’s David Hall a student at College of Western Idaho. Weatherby says Hall is a long shot.

Jim Weatherby “Oh I would say a long, long shot given Boise city politics. It’s a rare event indeed over the last several decades, for an incumbent to be defeated. I think if you talk about an incumbent mayor you’d have to go back to the 1960s.”

Weatherby says the perceived difficulty of defeating Bieter’s strong political organization may have kept challengers away. He adds Bieter’s supporters phrase it differently.

Jim Weatherby “The citizens of Boise are satisfied.”

Weatherby doesn’t put much credence in one popular theory.  There is just no issue to make people interested in the race. He says there’s a host of issues that a good candidate could make into a galvanizing platform. He ticks off a few; at the top of the list - economic development amid the sluggish recovery. He says at least Boise’s mayor’s race usually brings out a cast of colorful characters who are absent this year.  Weatherby says maybe right now the job just doesn’t look attractive.

Jim Weatherby “These are tough economic times and it’s tough to be in city government or local government because you have so few resources to work with.”

He notes that isn’t stopping other Treasure Valley cities from holding spirited campaigns this year. Meridian’s incumbent mayor Tammy de Weerd is in a five way horse race to keep her job. And the Eagle mayoral race he says will likely be contentious.