In Ada County, Sheriff Clifford rolls to victory, Dayley wins tight commissioner race

Darin Oswald/
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Some important Ada County races were up for grabs Tuesday as voters cast ballots in the primary election to decide who would be the Republican candidates for sheriff, District 3 commissioner, assessor and coroner.


Former Eagle Police Chief Matthew Clifford, who has been serving as interim sheriff for nearly a year following the retirement of Stephen Bartlett, faced off against Doug Traubel, a former Sheriff’s Office deputy known for controversial writings and belief in “Constitutional sheriffs.”

Clifford took an early lead in the race and never wavered as vote totals came in. Clifford came away with 65.6% of the vote and was more than 19,000 votes clear of Traubel. Clifford will run against Democratic candidate Victor McCraw in November.

Clifford said he never took winning for granted and “campaigned the whole time like he was losing.” After “pouring (his) heart and soul” into his career in local law enforcement, he said he’s looking forward to continuing to be a part of the Sheriff’s Office.

“It’s really meaningful: keeping the agency going into the future, helping us grow, helping overcome some of the challenges with recruitment or attainment and just maintaining a really respectable agency,” Clifford told the Idaho Statesman after his victory.

Clifford said that as sheriff, he wants to bring local law enforcement agencies closer together.

“I‘m really looking forward to a lot more collaboration with the other agencies,” Clifford said. “That’s kind of a special thing here in Ada County with all the agencies and how they work together. So I’m just looking forward to strengthening that as we continue to grow. We need to stick together a lot more.”


Three candidates campaigned for the spot of District 3 commissioner. The district covers everything in Ada County south of Interstate 84 and outside Boise city limits, although all Ada County residents could vote in this race.

In a tight race, Thomas Dayley, a former state representative, won with 38% of the vote (23,084), compared to 36% for former commissioner Sharon Ullman (22,005) and 26% for Dawn Retzlaff. Ullman was roughly 950 votes behind Dayley when she told the Statesman that she had conceded. There were two precincts left to report at the time.

“I have called Tom Dayley to congratulate him on his victory in the Ada County commissioner race and told him how much I appreciated that he ran an honorable race,” Ullman said in an email. “It would be nice to see more candidates do the same going forward.”

Dayley will face Democrat Patricia Nilsson in November.


The Republican assessor candidates were Ron DeRoest, Bradley Bolicek, Rebecca Arnold and Dave Litster.

Arnold came out on top with 35% of the vote (21,080) and was ahead of Litster by a little more than 2,000 votes, making her the winner. DeRoest had 20% of the vote and Bolicek 14%.

Arnold will face Democratic candidate Laurie Barrera in November.


Rich Riffle had 52% of the vote (29,519) to Cheri Durst’s 48% (26,930) in a tight race. Riffle will face Democratic incumbent Dotti Owens in the general election.

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