Election information for the Seeley-Swan, few local seats remain open and a new House District for Seeley Lake

Ballots this year will include a variety of political representatives for people in the Seeley-Swan Valley to choose from as the calendar rolls closer to primary elections, and some opportunities for people to get involved in local boards or districts.

So far, it doesn't look like voters in the Seeley-Swan will have any special district or school board elections to vote in, though the school board candidate filing period is open until March 28. Ballot language for things like levies could also be added between March 28 and April 4. Missoula County election staff anticipate at least one ballot initiative to be presented to voters on conducting a local government study, which is considered every ten years.

However, four seats remain open: one on the Greenough/Potomac Fire District, one on the Seeley Lake Sewer District, one on the Swan Valley Fire Service Area and one on the Seeley Lake Community Council.

"Council members act as a liaison between the citizens of the Seeley Lake area and the county commissioners, providing information deemed useful, beneficial and helpful in decisions that affect the community. Applicants must be residents of the Seeley Lake community," according to an email from Missoula County regarding special district elections.

Other boards or districts that had terms that expired had candidates elected by acclamation, or elected by default since there were no challengers.

State representation-wise, redistricting changed the legislative map for Seeley Lake residents.

Every ten years following a new Census count, the Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission is tasked with redrawing the state's House and Senate districts. This election year is the first time the new maps will be used since the new maps were finalized in 2023.

Seeley Lake was drawn out of House District 92 and now sits in House District 76 with Ovando, Phillipsburg and Deer Lodge, but not Greenough or Condon.

The primary election is on June 4 and the general election is on Nov. 5.

Local districts and councils

Greenough/Potomac Fire District: Two seats are open this year previously held by Scott Gordon and Connie Ployhar. Jason Johnson filed for a three-year term and one three-year term remains open.

Seeley Fire District: Two seats are open this year previously held by Gary Lewis and Connie Clark. Lewis filed for another three-year term, as did Shirley Goudzwaard. Both Lewis and Goudzwaard were elected by acclamation.

Seeley Lake Cemetery Board: Missoula County Commissioners reappointed Wendy Green, Jo-ann Stierwalt and Kristin Mason to the Seeley Lake Cemetery District at their March 14 meeting.

Seeley Lake Community Council: Garry Swain and Bruce Friede were elected by acclamation to serve three-year terms. One three-year term remains open.

Seeley Lake Water Board: Three seats are open this year and all were filled by the current seat holders. Todd Johnson, Chris Lorentz and Kristine B. Martin were elected by acclamation to new four-year terms.

Seeley Lake Sewer District: Two seats are open this year previously held by Tom Morris and Jason Gilpin. Tom Morris was elected by acclamation to a new four-year term. One four-term remains open.

Seeley-Swan Hospital District: Two seats are open this year and both were filled by the current seat holders. Suzette Baker and Terryl Bartlett were elected by acclamation to new three-year terms.

Swan Valley Community Council: Jesse Arno and Brian A. Praschak were elected by acclamation to new three-year terms.

Swan Valley Fire Service Area: One position is open this year for Marcia Tapp's seat. This three-year position is open to fill.

School boards

Potomac School: No filings so far. One open three-year term remains.

Seeley Lake Elementary School: No filings so far. One open three-year term remains.

Sunset School: Serra Hurst filed for the open three-year term.

Swan Valley Elementary School: Kathryn Logan and Sara Lamar filed for three-year terms. Kristoffer Mitchell filed for a two-year term. All open positions were filled.

Missoula County Commissioners

Missoula County Commissioner Josh Slotnik is up for re-election and is running against candidates Kris Culdice, a Republican, and Mike Nonemacher, an Independent. Slotnik is not the Missoula County Commissioner that represents the Seeley-Swan area. Juanita Vero in District 1 and Dave Strohmaier in District 2 do represent parts of the Seeley-Swan area.

State House

House District 76 encompasses Seeley Lake, Ovando, Deer Lodge and Phillipsburg. Current Rep. John Fitzpatrick of HD 77, a Republican, is running against Republican Dave Kesler III and Libertarian Elena Gagliano.

House District 92 encompasses the East Rattlesnake area, East Missoula, Greenough and Condon. Condon Community Council Member Ted Morgan, a Republican, and current HD 91 Rep. Connie Keough, a Democrat, are running to represent this district.

State Senate

Senate District 38 encompasses Seeley Lake, Ovando, Deer Lodge, Phillipsburg and Boulder. Current Republican Sen. Becky Beard and Sen. Gregory Frazer and Republican Jeremy Mygland, not a current legislator, and Democrat Jeffrey Benson, not a current legislator, are running to represent this district.

Senate District 46 encompasses East Missoula, Condon, Greenough, Ronan and the East Rattlesnake area. Three candidates have filed for this race: Jacinda Morigeau and C.B. Pearson filed as Democrats and Charles Headley filed as a Republican.

Governor

Montana's Republican Governor Greg Gianforte is up for reelection this year. In the June primaries, Gov. Gianforte will be on the ballot against Republican state Rep. Tanner Smith from Lakeside. Democratic candidate Ryan Busse - whose two sons were plaintiffs in the landmark climate case Held v. Montana - will be on the primary ballot against Libertarian Jim Hunt from Helena and Libertarian Kaiser Leib.

National House

In 2021, Montana was divided into two national House of Representative Districts as the state's population grew following the 2020 Census counts. House District 1 covers the western third of the state and many of its larger cities and House Districts 2 covers from Helena to the east. House District 1 includes the Seeley-Swan Valley.

In House District 1, current Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke will be facing off against Democrat Monica Tranel, who lost to Rep. Zinke in the last election for this district. In the primaries, Rep. Zinke will be on the ballot against Kalispell pastor Mary Todd, and two Libertarian candidates are also running for the district.

National Senate

Montana has two senators that represent the state on the national level, currently Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, and Sen. Steve Daines, a Republican.

Sen. Tester is up for reelection this year, opening one long-time Democratic seat in the Senate for contest. Republicans in the United States Senate need to flip just two seats to take control of the Chamber.

Republican Tim Sheehy - former Navy SEAL and founder of Bridger Aerospace, a firefighting company based in Belgrade - is running against Sen. Tester and has been endorsed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Six other candidates filed to run against Sen. Tester and will be on the primary ballot.

President

Presumptive nominees for the presidential election - current President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump - are expected to be on the primary and general election ballots.

Others

Seeley-Swan area residents will be voting for a variety of other elected offices, too, including two seats on the state Supreme Court, three seats on the state utility regulation board and the state superintendent of public education.

Disclosure: Jesse Mullen, owner of Ponderosa Publishing, which owns the Seeley-Swan Pathfinder, is running for Secretary of State and will be on voter's ballots. Editorial independence is maintained between the publishing and editorial branches of the Seeley-Swan Pathfinder.

 

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