HELENA — Helena is now set for a contested mayoral election this fall, after a second candidate jumped into the race to challenge incumbent Mayor Wilmot Collins.
Sonda Gaub, a newcomer to politics, says she decided to file as a candidate on Monday, just a few hours before the deadline.
“I wanted a choice, and no one was stepping up,” she said.
She describes herself as an educator who has at schools across the country – including as a former long-term substitute teacher at Broadwater Elementary School. She currently operates a small tutoring business called Learning Dynamics.
Gaub says she was born in Helena and grew up in Montana. Over the last two decades, she moved a number of times as her husband, Darin, took different postings in the military. She says they purchased property in Helena in 2007 and moved in full-time in 2018.
Gaub says she wants to make sure public safety is a priority as the community continues to grow. She says she’s concerned after having lived in larger cities.
“I definitely will be able to help Helena not make the mistakes that those cities have made, while being totally open and accepting,” she said.
Gaub also says she wants to see Helena become a more business-friendly city, and to bring back a respect for the voters.
“This is a shocker for me, and my friends and my family,” she said. “I’m excited, and I just want everyone to know that – put both hands on the wheel, because it’s going to be fun. I want this.”
While this is Sonda Gaub’s first political campaign, Darin Gaub was a Republican candidate for House District 83 in 2020, and he is running for Helena Citizens’ Council this year.
Collins launched his campaign for a second term in March, and he was the only announced candidate for almost the entire filing period. In his announcement, he said the city had made strides in meeting his priorities – like supporting essential services and improving affordable housing options – and that he wants to continue making Helena a better place to live.