Governor hopeful Rognstad will run as write-in candidate

Shelby Rognstad

By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports

Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad, who planned to run as a Democratic candidate for governor, announced Monday he will instead file as a write-in candidate.

The problem came when filing candidacy paperwork and Rognstad filed to run for governor as a Democrat but until March 11 was registered as a Republican voter, as Idaho Reports first reported. 

That stopped the Secretary of State’s Office from listing Rognstad and one other governor candidate, Dr. Ryan Cole, on the unofficial list of candidates released.

Write-in candidates have until March 25 to file for candidacy in Idaho.

On Monday over Twitter, Rognstad wrote the Secretary of State “denied me access to be on the ballot based on a minor technicality not based on law. I’ve determined our best option is to file a write in campaign to better represent the people of Idaho.” 

According to Idaho Code, all candidates must be affiliated with a party before registering as a candidate, if they want to be on the primary ballot. 

“The filing official shall reject any declaration of candidacy for partisan office in a primary election from candidates who are not affiliated with a political party,” according to Idaho Code.

Rognstad’s campaign previously told Idaho Reports they thought he had affiliated as a Democrat before announcing his run for governor six months ago, but public records show he was still a Republican. 

As of Monday morning, Stephen Heidt of Marsing is the only Democratic candidate listed for governor, according to the Secretary of State.


<strong>Ruth Brown</strong> | Producer
Ruth Brown | Producer

Ruth Brown grew up in South Dakota and her first job out of college was covering the South Dakota Legislature. She’s since moved on to Idaho lawmakers. Brown spent 10 years working in print journalism, including newspapers such as the Idaho Statesman and Idaho Press, where she’s covered everything from the correctional system to health care issues. She joined Idaho Reports in 2021 and looks forward to telling stories about how state policy can impact the lives of regular Idahoans.

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