Absent from this year’s Whitefish city election was the blizzard of campaign yard signs, mailers and acrimonious letters to the editor that characterized the 2011 contest, but the city council still saw a decisive shift to the left as voters selected three new councilors.
Former mayor Andy Feury, Pam Barberis and Jen Frandsen will begin their four-year terms in January, joining John Anderson, Frank Sweeney and Richard Hildner, who in 2011 were grouped together as a slate of left-leaning candidates.
Whitefish Mayor John Muhlfeld was elected on that same wave of support, but has stressed the importance of setting political ideologies aside in order to best serve the whole community.
Outgoing councilors Bill Kahle, Phil Mitchell and Bill Kahle, who were ushered into office in 2009 with right-leaning support, decided not to run for re-election.
Although municipal elections are not conducted on a partisan basis, factions were divided starkly in recent Whitefish municipal elections as a host of issues involving growth and planning reached a crescendo and created a schism.
Feury, who stepped down as mayor of Whitefish in 2007 after nearly eight years in the position and previously served on city council, garnered 1,025 votes, or 29.3 percent. Barberis earned 913 votes, or 26 percent, while Frandsen took 903 votes, or 25.87 percent.
Candidate Life Noell received 619 votes, or 17.73 percent, marking his second consecutive unsuccessful bid for a council seat.
Municipal Judge Bradley Johnson ran unopposed.
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