Blasdel, Garner win legislative primaries

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Speaker of the House Mark Blasdel prevailed over former Kalispell Mayor Tammi Fisher in the centerpiece Republican race for Flathead Valley legislative primary contests.

Blasdel finished with 67 percent of the vote while Fisher received 33 percent from Senate District 4 voters. Blasdel will advance to a general election race against Democrat Elizabeth Cummings, who was not opposed in the primary election.

“I think I just focused on the issues and a positive campaign about my accomplishments and what I want to do moving forward,” said Blasdel, who watched the results come in from the Vista Linda, his restaurant and catering business in Somers. 

“I think experience played a key role,” he said, referring to his eight years learning the legislative ropes in the House, where he is term-limited after this year.

It was the highest-spending legislative race in the Flathead Valley, with Blasdel spending roughly $28,000 out of nearly $34,000 raised while Fisher was campaigning with about $10,000.

The rest of the legislative candidate lineup is now set for the November election. 

In the Kalispell area’s House District 7, former Kalispell Police Chief Frank Garner won the Republican primary, getting 74 percent of the vote while Ronalee Skees got 26 percent.

In November, Garner will face Democrat Catie Henderson, who defeated Alex Schaeffer on a 56-43 percent margin.

Doug Adams prevailed in the House District 5 Republican primary with 66 percent of the vote, while John Michael Myers got 43 percent. Adams will advance to a general election race with the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Ed Lieser, who was unopposed in the primary election.

In one of the tighter Republican races of the night, Dr. Albert Olszewski narrowly prevailed over Mike Hebert on a 52-48 percent margin in House District 11. In the November election, Olszewski will face Democrat Kim Fleming, who was unopposed in the primary.

In House District 13, which includes much of Sanders County but also the Kila and Marion areas, Thompson Falls resident Bob Brown prevailed over Katy Walton in the Republican primary on a 67-33 percent margin.

Brown will go on to face Democrat Weylin Achatz in the November election. Achatz won the Democratic primary race over Gerald Joseph Cuvillier, 53-44 percent.

All of the winners led early Tuesday night, some by substantial margins, after the initial count of 7,283 absentee ballots in Flathead County.

 Reporter Jim Mann may be reached at 758-4407 or by email at jmann@dailyinterlake.com.

 

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