MISSOULA — The list of candidates looking to represent the City of Missoula as mayor and as a member of City Council – and to serve as a municipal court judge – took form on Monday as the filing period closed, setting the ballot for the 2021 election.
The only remaining question is whether the city will hold a primary before November.
With one hour before the filing deadline, the final tally included three candidates running to serve as mayor, six candidates looking to fill three seats in municipal court, and 14 candidates vying for six seats on City Council.
The race for mayor will include newcomers Jacob Elder, a Liberian refugee and former U.S. Marine who launched his campaign months ago, and Greg Strandberg, a perennial candidate who paid the $950 filing fee on Monday.
Incumbent John Engen will vie to defend his seat against his rivals.
“I take my responsibility as the City of Missoula’s chief executive officer seriously,” Engen said in a statement issued Monday. “I know the burdens, the challenges, the opportunities and the surprises that come with being a full-time public servant, and it is not easy. But I believe I will continue to be the best candidate for the job.”
The Missoula Current will ask all candidates running for office to detail their platform in the months ahead.
While Engen looks to keep his job as mayor, only two incumbents have filed to retain their seat on City Council, including Ward 5 councilmember Stacie Anderson and Ward 2 councilmember Jordan Hess.
They’ll be challenged by Rebecca Dawson, who is running against Hess in Ward 2, and Robert Campbell, who is running against Anderson in Ward 5.
Several other City Council incumbents said they don’t plan to run for another term. They include Ward 6 council member Julie Merritt, Ward 4 councilmember Jesse Ramos and Ward 3 councilmember Heather Harp.
Ward 1 councilmember Bryan von Lossberg – the City Council’s current president – also isn’t seeking what would have been his third term.
“I have been resolved about that decision for quite some time,” von Lossberg said. “It’s been an honor to represent Ward 1 and serve as council president. I’m deeply grateful to the community and my colleagues for those opportunities.”
Four candidates have filed to fill Von Lossberg’s seat representing Ward 1, including Jennifer Savage, Kevin Hunt, Sheena Winterer and Jane VanFossen, who also beat the filing deadline on Monday.
With four candidates running for the single seat, the city will decide this week whether to hold a primary. The cost of holding a primary for a single ward is estimated at $19,000.
In other races without an incumbent, two candidates have filed to replace Harp in Ward 3, including Dori Gilels and Daniel Carlino. In Ward 6, newcomers Kristen Jordan and Tom Taylor look to replace Merritt and in Ward 4, Mike Nugent and Alan Ault are looking to replace Ramos.
With two additional judgeships at stake, municipal court races will also take a higher profile this election. The new positions include District 2, which includes a race between Thorin Geist and Eli Parker. In Department 3, Ethan Lerman and Jacob Coolidge have filed to run.
Two other candidates also paid the $1,000 filing fee in their quest to replace retiring Municipal Court Judge Kathleen Jenks. Jennifer Streano filed to run back in April and Sam Warren filed in May.
- John Engen*
- Jacob Elder
- Greg Strandberg
- Jennifer Savage
- Kevin Hunt
- Sheena Comer Winterer
- Jane VanFossen
- Jordan Hess*
- Rebecca Dawson
- Dori Gilels
- Daniel Carlino
- Mike Nugent
- Alan Ault
- Stacie Anderson*
- Robert Campbell
- Kristen Jordan
- Tom Taylor