In a race that went down to the wire, Republican challenger Randy Brodehl appears to have eked out a narrow victory for the Flathead County District 3 commissioner seat, unseating incumbent Gary Krueger.
Another Republican challenger, Gerald “Jay” Scott was neck and neck with Brodehl as votes were tallied Tuesday evening.
At 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, Brodehl held a slight lead over Scott with 31 percent of the votes, at 5,238 votes, while Scott garnered 30 percent, with 5,081 votes.
Still missing were a couple of hundred late absentee ballots and some provisional ballots yet to be counted.
Krueger came in third in the four-way contest among Republicans with 20 percent of the vote, at 3,390 votes. A fourth Republican, Ronalee Skees, tallied 3,132 votes.
The Republican winner will face Democrat Tom Clark in the Nov. 6 general election.
It’s the second time Scott has barely missed getting elected to the commission. Six years ago he lost to Krueger by 23 votes after a recount was taken.
Brodehl, 63, has spent most of his life as a public servant, logging nearly four decades as a career firefighter. He is a retired Kalispell fire chief and owns R & J Enterprises cabinet shop.
During his campaign Brodehl emphasized his conservative approach to county government.
“I’ll be a no vote on growing government and overreach,” he said. “We are a citizen government and we have a responsibility to lead well in government.
“I see the need for the county commissioners to be strong on public safety, budget skills and protecting property rights.”
Brodehl comes to the county government arena with eight years of political experience as a state representative for House District 9 that represents the Evergreen and northeast Kalispell areas.
Features Editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or email@example.com.