Five contested races set in Lewis & Clark County elections

City-County Building
Posted at 1:14 PM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 15:14:18-04

HELENA — After the close of candidate filing on Monday, Lewis and Clark County is set to have five contested races in this year’s elections.

Three candidates are running for an open seat on the Lewis and Clark County Commission. The third filed on the last day: Curt Dallas, a Montana Department of Transportation employee who lives in the north Helena Valley. He joins business owner Conrad Evarts and attorney Candace Payne.

The seat is representing District 3, which includes the west side of Helena and the North Valley, along with areas like Lincoln, Canyon Creek and Rimini. Incumbent Commissioner Jim McCormick chose not to run again, citing health and family reasons.

Lewis and Clark County will also have an open race for county attorney. Three candidates have filed: deputy county attorneys Kevin Downs and Charles Lane and Montana Department of Justice prosecutor Dan Guzynski.

Longtime County Attorney Leo Gallagher, who has held the position since 2001, did not run for another term.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff-Coroner Leo Dutton drew a late challenger in this year’s elections. Last week, John “Doc” Holiday filed as a candidate for the position. Holiday has lived in the county for three years after moving from Colorado. He previously worked as a private investigator and an investigator with a district attorney’s office.

Holiday says times are changing, and a change is also needed in local law enforcement.

“When a storm is in the offing, you prepare to meet that storm, and we are unprepared here in Lewis and Clark County to meet the storm that is coming,” he said.

County treasurer-clerk and recorder Amy Reeves, who was appointed to the position in 2020, is running for a full term for the first time. She will face a challenge from Bettijo Starr, who filed on Monday.

Incumbent Justice of the Peace Mike Swingley is running for a fourth term in office. He will face Shawn White Wolf.

One county election won’t be contested this year: County superintendent of schools Katrina Chaney will be the only one on the ballot after an earlier candidate withdrew.

This is the first time that the full complement of Lewis and Clark County offices has been open since voters approved a switch to nonpartisan county elections. All candidates will appear on a single primary ballot in June. The top two finishers in each race will advance to the general election.