Before polls close, Durst goes scorched-earth

At 6:52 p.m. Tuesday, more than an hour before the polls closed, Boise School Board candidate Branden Durst went to Facebook to make a concession of sorts.

He described himself as a victim of “smear tactics and character assassinations,” and said he had a secondary motive for running for the volunteer job — one he admitted might seem “a bit scheming.”

His campaign, he said, was “a weather balloon to identify those whom I could rely upon and those whom I could not.”

Durst continued, “(This) was done in response to a new political reality that left me a bit disoriented and looking for some assurances. The fact that I am openly willing to admit it, I hope speaks to my character and integrity.”

The post capped off a campaign that had some contentious moments, at least by the normally low-key standards of Boise trustee races. The campaign also found Durst, a former legislator, at odds with one-time allies.

As Boise State University administrator Alicia Estey racked up endorsements and financial contributions from several prominent Democrats, Durst tried to paint himself as a political outsider. In one tweet, written during the campaign, Durst said he “used to be a Democrat.”

When the votes in Tuesday’s nonpartisan race came in, Estey and incumbents Maria Greeley and Troy Rohn easily won six-year terms on the board. The results weren’t close, with the three winners getting supermajority support from the 4,041 Boiseans who cast votes. Durst received 567 votes.

In his post, Durst said one campaign had resorted to smear tactics, but he didn’t name names. However, he did commend fellow challengers Shari Fernandez and James Tooman for running “honorable campaigns.”


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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