HELENA – Recounts will be held next week in two Montana legislative races – one in Billings and one in Great Falls.
Republican state Rep. Lola Sheldon-Galloway in House District 22 in south Great Falls and Republican Fred Fleming in House District 51 in south-central Billings are the official winners in each race.
However, their respective margins of victory are each less than 0.5% of the vote total, allowing the losing candidate to request a recount – if that losing candidate is willing to pay for it.
In both races, the losing candidate has requested the recount and posted a non-refundable bond to pay for the recount.
Democrat Darryl Wilson, who lost to Fleming by 17 votes, has posted a $1,137 bond to finance his recount, which is scheduled next Tuesday in Billings.
The Montana Democratic Party has posted a $2,115 bond to pay for the recount for Democrat Laura Devers, who lost to Sheldon-Galloway by 14 votes. The recount has yet to be scheduled.
If the margin of victory is less than 0.25% of the vote total, the candidates do not have to pay for the recount.
Republicans currently hold a 58-42 majority in the Montana House for the 2019 Legislature, which convenes January 7.
-Mike Dennison reporting for MTN News