Candidates file for 2018 races - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

Candidates file for 2018 races in Helena

Posted: Jan 11, 2018 5:58 PM Updated:

At 8 a.m. on Thursday, the Lewis & Clark County elections office started accepting candidates filing to run for six county positions in this year’s elections.


First in line was Sheriff Leo Dutton, filing for reelection as a Democrat.


It’s an honor to have this job; it’s a privilege,” he said. “As I go into this, I have a good team, I hope that I’ve earned the trust of the public.


Dutton has been sheriff since 2008. He said, if reelected, he wants to continue focusing on expanding the county detention center and finding a new headquarters for his department. Voters approved a 15-year levy last year to pay for operations at a renovated jail.


There will be one major change in county offices this year. Dutton will be running for the newly combined office of sheriff-coroner, after the county commission voted last month to consolidate the two positions. The change will take effect in January 2019, when the officials elected this year take office.


I hope that the transition’s seamless,” said Dutton. “I hope that you see no break in service. We’ll use existing staff. I hope that you see less wait time, because there were only two that could respond. Now you’ll have more staff.”


Two other incumbents also filed for reelection in the first minutes: County Attorney Leo Gallagher, a Democrat who has been in office since 2001, and Justice of the Peace Mike Swingley, who is running for his third four-year term.


I absolutely love this job,” said Swingley. “I think it’s a very challenging and it’s a very stressful position; it gets busier all the time, but it’s a good fit for me and I consider it a privilege to be sitting on that bench.”


Swingley said, if he receives another term, he wants to make the court more efficient and work on ways to address the methamphetamine crisis in Lewis and Clark County.


Three other county offices are open for election this year, including a seat on the county commission, representing District One. Commissioner Andy Hunthausen, a Democrat first elected in 2006, said he plans to file for reelection in the coming days. County superintendent of schools Katrina Chaney, a Republican, and treasurer, clerk and recorder Paulette DeHart, a Democrat, also say they intend to run again.


With the exception of justice of the peace, all Lewis and Clark County officers are chosen through partisan elections. Candidates who file as Republicans or Democrats will appear on the primary ballot in June. The winners will move on to the general election in November.


County elections in Broadwater and Jefferson County are all nonpartisan. In those counties, primaries will only be held if the number of candidates is significantly higher than the number of open positions.


In Broadwater County, Carrie Harper has filed to represent District Three on the county commission. Justice of the Peace Kirk Flynn has filed for another term. Voters will also select a sheriff-coroner, county attorney and consolidated clerk and recorder, treasurer and superintendent of schools. Sheriff-Coroner Wynn Meehan told MTN he will run again, but he has not officially filed yet.


In Jefferson County, seven county offices are up for election. Sheriff-Coroner Craig Doolittle, County Attorney Steve Haddon, and clerk and recorder Bonnie Ramey have all filed for reelection. Stephen Andersen has filed to run for justice of the peace, a position currently held by Dennis Giulio. No candidates have yet applied to run for superintendent of schools or treasurer, or to represent District Three on the county commission.


Election officials say the initial rush of candidates to slow down over the next few weeks.


Usually we see a lot of people file the first day and then a lot of people file toward the end of candidate filing,” said Audrey McCue, Lewis and Clark County’s elections supervisor.


Anyone who wants to run for a county office has until March 12 to file. Candidates must pay a filing fee, fill out their declaration of candidacy and sign it in front of a notary or at the county elections office.




Lewis and Clark County:


County Commissioner, District 3:




County Sheriff/Coroner:


Leo Dutton, Democrat (incumbent)


County Attorney/Public Administrator:


Leo Gallagher, Democrat (incumbent)


County Treasurer/Clerk and Recorder:




County Superintendent of Schools:




Justice of the Peace:


Mike Swingley (incumbent)


Broadwater County:


County Commissioner, District 3:

Carrie Harper


County Sheriff/Coroner:




County Attorney:




County Clerk and Recorder/Treasurer/Superintendent of Schools:




Justice of the Peace:


Kirk Flynn (incumbent)


Jefferson County:


County Commissioner, District 3:




County Sheriff/Coroner:


Craig Doolittle (incumbent)


County Attorney/Public Administrator:


Steve Haddon (incumbent)


County Clerk and Recorder/Assessor/Surveyor:


Bonnie Ramey (incumbent)


County Treasurer:




County Superintendent of Schools:




Justice of the Peace:


Stephen Andersen

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