Dave Bieter: Probably Idaho's Most Successful Modern-Day Politician 

click to enlarge LAURIE PEARMAN
  • Laurie Pearman

Dave Bieter was a relatively young man when, at 39, he was appointed to the Idaho House of Representatives in 1999 to fill the seat of his late-father, Pat, who died in a terrible car crash along with Bieter's mother, Eloise.

He ultimately decided to run for the same office in 2000 and was reelected in 2002. In 2003, when he was first elected Boise mayor, he was the youngest person on the Boise City Council.

Bieter turned 56 years old on Sunday, Nov. 1, but his real celebration was Tuesday night as he won a record-tying fourth term as Boise mayor. In unofficial results from Ada County Elections, Bieter secured a commanding 69 percent of the vote, compared to challengers Judy Peavey-Derr's 26 percent and Seth Holden's 5 percent.  

Election officials said they were impressed by Ada County's high voter turnout for an "off-year" election, pointing specifically to high turnout in Boise's North End.

Bieter was especially pleased Tuesday night when he saw Boise voters overwhelmingly approved a two-year, $10 million levy to fuel conservation of open space and water quality. The initiative lured 74 percent of Boise voters to vote "yes."

Boise City Council members Elaine Clegg, Scot Ludwig and Lauren McLean were also easy winners for reelection, taking 66 percent, 69 percent and 100 percent of the vote, respectively.

In the wake of Tuesday's election, Bieter may be Idaho's most successful modern-day politician. Boise voters would be hard pressed to find a time when Bieter lost a political contest. This is his sixth successful general election—two for the Idaho House and four for Boise mayor. Politicos bundle Bieter's personal victories with the multiple elections in which he has held considerable sway, including contests for the Ada County Highway District, the Greater Boise Auditorium District and multiple levies and/or bond initiatives.

As Bieter was hitting the bricks with some door-to-door campaigning a few weeks before Tuesday's vote, Boise Weekly asked hizzoner how many more elections might be in his future. He gave a rather traditional answer, saying that once he was elected to his first term as mayor, he knew that he would want a second term. Beyond that, he said it was one election a time. Then Bieter made a point of saying one of his all-time favorite politicians was Charleston, S.C., Mayor Joe Riley, who is finishing up his staggering tenth term in office.
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