Upon learning that she was defeated in her run for a third term as Kalispell’s mayor, Pam Kennedy called it, “a tough year to be an incumbent.”
“Mayors across the United States have been losing this year and it seems as though many have been blamed for the national economy,” Kennedy said.
Local attorney Tammi Fisher, in her first run for public office, defeated Kennedy handily with 63 percent of the vote. Fisher received 2,325 votes to Kennedy’s 1,363, with voter turnout at 31 percent. As of Tuesday night, some absentee ballots still needed to be counted, so official results were unavailable from the Flathead County Election Department, but it was not enough ballots to change the outcome of the mayoral race.
In Kalispell’s three contested races, Fisher and the new incoming Ward 2 Councilman Jeff Zauner routed the incumbents, aided by the strong support of the city’s business community. Ward 3 Councilman Jim Atkinson was the lone council member who managed to hang on to his seat, though it was by a narrow 48-vote margin.
Reached at her victory party at Scotty’s Bar on the south side of Kalispell, Fisher said she was, “pretty much overwhelmed and completely humbled.”
Fisher ran an aggressive campaign, blaming the current council for the meager state of the city budget, criticizing the controversial adoption of transportation impact fees and questioning Kalispell’s growth through annexation over the last several years. Based on the election results, voters seem to have decided that the tough state of Kalispell’s economy called for some fresh faces at city hall.
Fisher called her margin of victory, “an overwhelming mandate that people want change.”
“They want their public servants to be held accountable and they want responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars,” Fisher said. “I really just want to get to work, serve my community and get city government back on track.”
Kennedy called Fisher upon learning of the election results to congratulate her, telling her she would do what she could to ease the new mayor’s transition to office.
“I feel proud about the job I’ve done for the last eight years,” Kennedy said. “The voters have spoken and I wish Tammi the absolute best and hope she does a great job for the city of Kalispell.”
<a href="http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/election_results/13970/" title="Related: Complete Election Results”>Related: Complete Election Results
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