There are early contenders for most Flathead County elected offices, setting the stage for some primary election run-offs in June as a busy election year kicks off.
Interest in the sheriff’s race is particularly high. Former Flathead County Undersheriff Jordan White filed his paperwork Thursday and announced his candidacy for the office of sheriff and coroner currently held by Chuck Curry.
White grew up in Bigfork and joined the Bigfork Ambulance and Ferndale Fire Department when he was 18, and volunteered at the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office as a reserve deputy on his 21st birthday. He spent two years with the Montana Highway Patrol before accepting a deputy position in Flathead County.
Curry appointed White undersheriff when Curry was elected in 2009. White resigned that position in 2012 to lead the Two Bear Air Rescue program. He left Two Bear last year to further his career in law enforcement.
White is running for sheriff as a Republican.
Calvin Beringer also has filed for sheriff on the Republican ticket. Beringer has worked for the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and King County Sheriff’s Office in Washington. He also managed the Flathead County Office of Emergency Services for a time under late Sheriff Jim Dupont.
The sheriff’s race drew interest early on, with Flathead County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Commander Brian Heino announcing his intention to seek the sheriff position last November. Keith Stahlberg also announced his intention to run for sheriff a couple of months ago. Stahlberg has worked for the Columbia Falls Police Department and the sheriff’s office, where he is currently a sergeant. Neither Heino nor Stahlberg has officially filed yet.
Curry has not yet said if he intends to run for a third term as sheriff, and could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
Interest in the non-partisan Justice of the Peace positions is growing. First-day filers for the Justice of the Peace Department 2 position held by Mark Sullivan include William Managhan and Paul Sullivan.
Paul Sullivan, of Bigfork, is an attorney who practices in the areas of criminal defense, civil litigation, family law and estate planning. Before joining Measure, Sampsel, Sullivan & O’Brien, P.C., he was a solo practitioner in Bigfork.
Managhan is a Kalispell attorney whose legal work includes personal injury, wrongful death, insurance law and consumer protection, according to lawyers.com.
Flathead County Justice of the Peace Department 1, Eric Hummel, has filed for re-election.
Travis Ahner, a deputy county attorney for Flathead County, has filed as a Republican for the county attorney position currently held by Ed Corrigan. Corrigan plans to retire and is not seeking re-election.
Ahner, a Kalispell native, has spent the past decade as a deputy county attorney, prosecuting major crimes and serving as the senior child and sexual abuse prosecutor.
Flathead County Clerk and Recorder Debbie Pierson and Treasurer Adele Krantz have filed for re-election on the Republican ticket.
In the race for the District 3 county commissioner seat held by Gary Krueger, state Rep. Randy Brodehl, a Kalispell Republican, filed Thursday for the six-year commission term.
Brodehl is in his fourth term as a state legislator and can’t run again because of term limits. He’ll wrap up his job as representative the same time the county commissioner seat comes opening. Brodehl has served as the representative for House District 9, formerly HD 7, since 2011. In 2017, Brodehl was vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and chaired the judicial subcommittee. Previously, Brodehl spent 38 years serving as a volunteer and career firefighter, and retired as the fire chief of Kalispell Fire Department in early 2008. He and his wife Joyce own R & J Enterprises, a woodworking shop that specializes in custom cabinets.
Former Fairgrounds Manager Gerald “Jay” Scott of Kalispell also filed on the Republican ticket. He lost to Krueger in the June 2012 primary by just 23 votes. Scott is a self-employed rancher, an active 4-H leader and community volunteer. As a former county department head — he managed the fairgrounds for 12 years — Scott said he’s familiar with the county’s budgeting processes and understands how county government works.
Three of Flathead County’s District 11 judges have filed for re-election, including Amy Eddy, Heidi Ulbricht and Robert Allison.
In the race for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Jon Tester, Albert Olszewski, a Kalispell Republican, has filed along with Troy Downing of Bozeman.
U.S. House candidates by late Thursday were Democrats John Heenan of Billings, Grant Kier of Helena, Lynda Moss of Billings and Kathleen Williams of Bozeman.
Flathead County is looking for election judges. Anyone interested in serving as an election judge can fill out an application form found on the county Election Department website, www.flathead.mt.gov/election, and send it to the Election Department. Election officials will contact you to set you up for a training session.
Features editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or email@example.com.