The list of candidates running for Lewis and Clark County offices is now complete, as the filing deadline passed on Monday.
Four candidates are now in the race for an open seat on the Lewis and Clark County Commission. The last to jump in was Mike Fasbender, of Helena, who filed with the county elections office on Monday.
Fasbender is an investor, and also restores and sells vehicles. He is seeking the commission seat representing District 2, which includes parts of central Helena and the Helena Valley, along with the Augusta area. Incumbent Susan Good Geise is not running for a second term.
Fasbender previously ran for commission as a Republican in 2012. He said he wasn’t planning on entering the race this year until he heard from farmers and ranchers in the Helena Valley who were unhappy with the commission’s plans to introduce county-initiated zoning.
“I think the landowners have been given an opportunity to give input; I think it’s being ignored,” he said.
He said his priority is to make sure landowners’ property rights are protected. He said he had previously been part of a working group on zoning that he sees as a better model.
“When we had that working group together, we were actually working on using carrots, instead of sticks,” he said. “I mean, growth is coming, we need to deal with it, but I think there’s better ways to deal with it than just using top-down zoning.”
Fasbender said he also wants to address other issues facing the county, particularly maintaining roads and dealing with drug abuse and mental health.
"I've run a business, I have rentals and I've got five kids who are living and getting raised in this county, too," he said. "I've got a lot of skin in the game."
The other three candidates for the District 2 seat are Tom Rolfe, Tyrel Suzor-Hoy and Brady Christensen, all from Helena. County election officials plan to hold a nonpartisan primary in June, with the top two candidates qualifying for the general election in November. It will be the first time a county commission election will be held without party labels, after voters approved a switch to nonpartisan county elections last year.
In two other county races, all candidates will qualify for the general election. Two people – Mark Piskolich and David Rau – are running for a newly created second justice of the peace position. The only candidate for clerk of district court is incumbent Angie Sparks.