Lewis and Clark County elects new County Commissioner and Attorney, incumbents win reelection

City-County Building
Posted at 6:15 PM, Nov 09, 2022

HELENA — Lewis and Clark County saw five contested races on Tuesday for county positions, including sheriff, county commission, county attorney and clerk and recorder. All races in the county are nonpartisan.

All precincts in the county were fully reported Wednesday afternoon. Results are considered unofficial until canvassed.

County Commission

Candace Payne is projected to beat Curt Dallas by a margin of 54% to 46%. The seat is currently held by Commissioner Jim McCormick who chose not to run for reelection. Payne is an attorney in the Helena area and was endorsed by McCormick.

County Attorney

Kevin Downs appears to have edged out Dan Guzynski with a three-point margin for County Attorney. Current County Attorney Leo Gallagher, who has held the position since 2001, is retiring. Downs works with the county attorney’s office, handling felony criminal prosecutions. He previously worked an assistant chief counsel with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in New York, and with the Montana Department of Justice under then-Attorney General Steve Bullock.

Treasurer, Clerk and Recorder

Incumbent Amy Reaves is projected to win her race against BettiJo Starr by a margin of 77% to 23%. Reaves was appointed to the position in 2020, and was running for a full term for the first time. A federal PAC sent mailers in support of Reaves for the position, however, Reaves publicly denounced the mailers.


Incumbent Leo Dutton held a strong lead over the challenger John “Doc” Holiday as soon as the first results came in Tuesday evening. Dutton, who has served as sheriff since 2008, is projected to win the race with 87% of the vote.

Justice of the Peace

Incumbent Judge Mike Swingley is projected to will reelection with 73% of the vote. His opponent Shawn White Wolf received 26% of the vote. This will be Swingley’s fourth term in office.