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Two special district races end in tie votes

by KRISTI NIEMEYER
Editor | May 16, 2024 12:00 AM

According to unofficial results, last Tuesday’s election for special districts and school board trustees yielded two ties.

Patrick Lennon and Rhonda Walter each collected 106 votes for the one seat available on the Chief Cliff Fire District board.

At the other end of Lake County, James “Tyke” Allaire and Anthony Hoyt each received 38 votes in their quest to serve as a director on the Arlee Water and Sewer Board. Clear winners of the other two available seats are Becky Malatare with 69 votes and Mary Stranahan with 58.

According to Lake County Election Administrator, if the ties still stand after the canvass is completed Thursday at 10 a.m., ballots in those two races will be hand counted by Lake County Commissioners Tuesday. If the results remain tied, candidates will be appointed fill the seats.

In other results: newcomer Kathleen “Kit” Collins narrowly beat incumbent Tony Muzquiz, 1,056 to 1,043, in the race for three open seats on the Polson School Board. Incumbent Alan Anderson retained his seat with 1,423 votes and Tim McGinnis, who was appointed last fall to finish John Mercer’s term, held on to his position with 1,658 votes.

The two seats available on the Polson Rural Fire board went to incumbents Fred Nelson (780) and R. Jack Clapp (631). Brian Walsh received 447 votes.

In St. Ignatius, six candidates filed for two board vacancies. Voters returned incumbent Jeff Evans with 271 votes and gave retired teacher Tim Marchant the second seat with 239. Next in line were Peter Matt (200), Rhianna Ruhkala (143), Darren Orr (125) and Rochelle Groom (57). 

Charlo School District had five candidates file for two open seats. Kristen Marcure Bauer received 203 votes and incumbent Jodie Johnson Buxbaum retained her seat with 101. The remaining tallies were Matt Hout, 89; Tina Firestone, 72; and Brandon Jenson, 67.

Ronan School District had two openings but only one person filed, incumbent Tom Anderson. The district is currently seeking applicants who live in the district to fill the second vacancy; call TJ Harold-Marmon at 406-528-7205 for information, or drop by the district office.

In other special elections, Roberta Steele, with 252 votes, and Stevens Matt with 232 were elected to the Arlee Rural Fire District. Contenders were Thomas Haynes (135), Aislinn Heavyrunner-Rioux (77) and Aimee Addison (35).

For more information on upcoming elections or voter registration, visit www.lakemt.gov/170/Elections.