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Election results Nov. 2, 2021 (unofficial)

Voting Ballots
Posted at 8:24 PM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 12:49:28-04

MISSOULA — Voters had their voices heard on Tuesday.

It's probably one of the biggest races in Western Montana with incumbent John Engen being challenged by Jacob Elder for Missoula mayor. Tuesday night's unofficial results show Engen has won another term with a lead of a few thousand votes.

Voters also re-elected two incumbents and voted in four new members — including two with socialist leanings to the Missoula City Council. According to Final Election Night Totals, incumbents Jordan Hess and Stacie Anderson both held their seats against rivals Rebecca Dawson and Bob Campbell, each holding 60% of the vote respectively.

A new state law now requires elections for all municipal court judges. The retirement of current Municipal Court Judge Kathleen Jenks meant voters had to decide on three full-time municipal court judge openings in Tuesday's elections.

Meanwhile, the unofficial election results from Ravalli County show incumbent Stevensville Mayor Brandon Dewey has lost his bid for another term and will be replaced by Steve Gibson.

Missoula County will collect only half the marijuana tax money it proposed to spend on tax relief and housing next year. Preliminary results of Tuesday’s election released Tuesday evening showed a resounding 78% of Missoula voters supported a 3% tax on recreational marijuana sales. But far fewer -– just 49.3% –- supported a similar 3% tax on medical marijuana.

The latest unofficial results show Whitefish voters have overwhelmingly approved a 20 year extension for the existing 3% resort tax.



Check out the latest election results from the election here.



BACKGROUND

Among the decisions being made on Tuesday were for the mayoral races in Missoula, Stevensville, and Kalispell. There are also three open seats for the Missoula City Council in this election.

Missoula incumbent Mayor John Engen is being challenged by Jacob Elder. One of the major issues the candidates talked about during a virtual debate hosted by KPAX was that of homelessness in Missoula.

For Missoula city council Ward 1 that covers downtown Missoula, the Rattlesnake, and northside neighborhoods it's Jennifer Savage versus Jane VanFossen. Current Ward 1 council member Brian Von Lossberg is not seeking another term.

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In Ward 2, incumbent Jordan Hess is seeking his third term on the Missoula City council that represents Grant Creek and Westside neighborhoods. Rebecca Dawson is his challenger.

For Ward 3, candidates Daniel Carlino and Dori Gilels look to represent the Riverfront, Rose Park, and University District neighborhoods. Current councilwoman Heather Harp is not running for another term.

Ward 4 sees Alan Ault and Mike Nugent looking to represent the Fairviews, Pattee Canyon, Lewis and Clark, and Southgate Triangle areas. Jesse Ramos who held this seat is not running.

For Ward 5 incumbent Stacie Anderson is being challenged by Robert Campbell to represent the Franklin to Fort and Miller Creek area neighborhoods.

Finally, in Missoula, two newcomers are looking to represent Ward 6. Kristen Jordan and Tom Taylor. Current councilwoman Julie Merritt is not seeking another term. Ward 6 also covers part of Franklin to the Fort, River Road, and Two Rivers areas.

A bill signed by Gov. Greg Gianforte earlier this year now requires elections for all municipal court judges. With current Municipal Court Judge Kathleen Jenks retiring, there are three full-time municipal court judge openings.

Missoula County voters weighed in on whether or not to implement a 3% local-option marijuana excise tax on the retail value of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana sold in the county. At the start of next year, medical marijuana dispensaries in Montana can begin selling recreational marijuana to all adults age 21 and over.

Three Kalispell City Council seats were decided on Tuesday as well as the mayoral race between incumbent Mark Johnson and city councilman Sid Daoud. Johnson has been Kalispell's mayor since 2013.

In Kalispell, three seats currently held by Chad Graham in Ward 2, Kyle Waterman in Ward 3, and Tim Kluesner in Ward 4 are open. Only Graham is seeking reelection.

For Kalispell City Council Ward 2, incumbent Chad Graham is challenged by Gabe Dillon. For Ward 3 Kalispell City Council seat, it's Jessica Dahlman and Rod Kuntz. And for Kalispell City Council Ward 4, two newcomers will face off to replace Tim Kluesner, who did not seek reelection — Jed Fisher and Angela Kennedy.

Meanwhile, in Whitefish, there are nine candidates running for three open seats on the council, and voters are also being asked to extend the city’s 3% resort tax for an additional 20 years. The resort tax was initially passed in 1996.

There are nine candidates running for three open seats on the Whitefish City Council. Whitefish City Council incumbents Ben Davis and Andy Feury are both in the running to retain their seats along with seven newcomers.

The marquee race in Stevensville was between incumbent Mayor Brandon Dewey and challenger Steve Gibson. The race could serve as a referendum on the town's recent political turmoil but both candidates have said they are hoping for a future without the fighting.

The Ward 1 race pits a couple of Stevensville Town Council veterans against one another, with former Councilwoman Stacie Barker hoping to return to the panel by unseating appointed incumbent, and former mayor, Paul Ludington.

In the Ward 2 contests, Cindy Brown is running unopposed for one seat, while the second is a contest between Sydney Allen, who was recently appointed to an unexpired term, and long-time Councilman Bob Michalson, who had been on, and off the council several times during the recent upheavals.

In Hamilton, each of the city’s three wards has one of its two seats up for grabs on the city council.

Incumbent Kristi Bielski faces Dean Knudsen for Hamilton's Ward 1 seat. For Ward 2 Incumbent Rod Pogacher is seeking a second term on the Hamilton city council. He's being challenged by Kathy Dexter. In Ward 3, outgoing Councilor Claire Kemp has chosen not to run for reelection. Candidates for Ward 3 are Kenneth Allen and Darwin Ernst.