Score one for the incumbents in IREA board election

Some early returns are in for the Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA) board election, and it’s not good news for renewable-energy advocates trying to bust up what they say is a cabal of coal-loving incumbents.

In the sprawling IREA’s District 7 race, incumbent George Hier handily turned back challenger Charles Bucknam by a margin of 3,899 votes to 1,862. A total of 5,784 ballots were cast and 23 were disqualified.

Given there are nearly 138,000 members in the state’s largest rural electric co-op (13th largest in the country), that’s less than a 5-percent return of mail-in ballots, but sources say that’s still 2,000 more votes than in recent elections – proving perhaps that most electricity consumers don’t especially care where there power comes from.

Two other districts are still being counted, and results should be available by the end of the week.

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