Election year already underway

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It’s still nearly three weeks until filing begins for county and state offices, but given the number of early announcements it may an interesting and competitive 2018 election year.

Interest is particularly high in some key county races. Three people already have announced they’ll challenge Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry, who hasn’t indicated yet whether he’ll seek another term. All are Republicans, no surprise there.

Commissioner Gary Krueger has some competition already, too, with two Republicans ready to challenge him in the June primary. And we hear there are several others in the wings ready to toss their hats into the Republican ring as well. Though it’s well acknowledged Democrats face an uphill battle in this county, we nevertheless encourage potential contenders from that political party to run for office.

Seven candidates have filed with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices for various Montana House and Senate seats, allowing them to start raising money.

It’s certainly been a wild year on the national political stage, so we’ll see if some of that fervor trickles down to local elections. Ready or not, 2018 elections here we come.

Fairgrounds fix-ups

Flathead County is wrapping up some much-needed improvements at the county fairgrounds. By the end of January the grounds will sport two new sets of restrooms, two new food vendor spaces and a handicapped-accessible new entrance to the grandstand.

The county is spending $1 million-plus on the projects, but all are necessary amenities. This round of work comes on the heels of a $1.5 million infrastructure investment two years ago that installed storm drains and new utility lines, a new grandstand roof and paved roads in the food-court area.

Our fairgrounds are well-used throughout the year — not just during fair week — with events regularly scheduled at both the Expo Building and Trade Center. Maintaining one of the county’s best public facilities is important, and money well-spent.

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