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Caldwell Mayor Nancolas on the runoff election for his successor

"I think John had the best interest of the city at heart," Nancolas said of John McGee's attempt to drop out of the race.

BOISE, Idaho — After one of the candidates for Caldwell city mayor attempted to drop out to avoid a runoff election, current Mayor Garret Nancolas says it's the city's only option for finding a new mayor.

In the Nov. 2 election, none of the five candidates for Caldwell mayor had at least a majority of 50% plus one vote. Caldwell City council members Jarom Wagoner and John McGee received the most votes, with Wagoner receiving 47% of the vote and McGee receiving 22%.

"Councilman Wagoner received nearly half the vote on election day. The people of Caldwell have spoken and I believe that they would like Mr. Wagoner to be their next mayor," McGee said in a Facebook post.

He added that he will be working with Wagoner to "help get his term off to a successful start."

On Monday, McGee filed a statement of withdrawal with the city clerk. However, the city clerk said McGee did not attempt to drop out in time and the run-off election will go on as scheduled on Nov. 30.

Under Idaho Code, a candidate's withdrawal must be filed with the city clerk at least 46 days before the election.

Nancolas said the city and McGee's lawyers both looked for any way to avoid the runoff.

"Obviously, the clerk and the city attorney both looked at it literally from every option and opportunity, and as you know, Mr. McGee also sought relief through the court system, and the judge also saw it the same way," Nancolas told KTVB. "So it's one of these things where we have to follow the law, we have to follow the statutes and the ordinances, and so it is a situation where there's only one way forward, and that's with a runoff election."

After 24 years as Caldwell's mayor, Nancolas decided not to run for reelection, and after recent elections, he isn't surprised that this year's will conclude with a runoff.

   

"It didn't surprise me that there would be a runoff. That's common when you have five candidates running for the same office, even with the council seats," he said. "We had, I believe, four people in at least each seat, and the winner in those cases was 32, 33% of the vote. So it's not unusual when you have that many candidates to not get the 50%. So the way it played out was not a surprise to me -- the fact that we didn't get 50% in the initial vote -- but since then it's been interesting."

Nancolas also added that he thinks McGee was trying to do what was best for the community and city when he tried to drop out.

"I think John had the best interest of the city at heart. I think he was really trying to do the right thing, and not go through a divisive additional three or four weeks of campaigning. I certainly respect that, and I think he was genuinely trying to do the right thing," Nancolas told KTVB.

Viewpoint airs Sunday morning at 9 a.m. MT on Idaho's NewsChannel 7 right after Meet the Press.

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