Flathead County voters will begin receiving their ballots on May 8 for the all-mail primary election, when a slate of contested local legislative races will produce nominees for both major political parties.
Flathead officials adopted a resolution to hold the June 2 primary using mail-only ballots in an effort to protect the health and safety of voters and poll workers amid the coronavirus outbreak. Mail-only voter registration is extended through May 26, which voters can access online at https://flathead.mt.gov/election.
After May 26, voters can still register to vote in person at the election department until 8 p.m. on Election Day, but county officials are urging everyone to ensure they are registered ahead of time. All polling locations will be closed.
The June 2 primary election includes a three-way Republican race in Senate District 2, which comprises the North Fork Flathead River and the canyon tracking between Columbia Falls and West Glacier. Currently represented by Republican Sen. Dee Brown, who has reached her term limit and cannot run again, the open seat has drawn a pool of Republican candidates including veteran lawmaker Carl Glimm, who has represented House District 6 since 2013 and can’t run again because of term limits, as well as Norm Nunnally and Paul J. Longfield.
Kyle Waterman is the lone Democrat running for the seat.
In House District 5, where incumbent Democrat Dave Fern represents the Whitefish area, two Republicans, Shawn Guymon and Catherine Owens, are vying for their party’s nomination. Guymon has run unsuccessfully for other districts as a Libertarian candidate, including in 2010, 2012 and 2018, while Owens is a political newcomer.
In House District 6, which spans northwest Kalispell and southwest Whitefish, Republicans Amy Regier and veteran lawmaker Bruce Tutvedt will square off in the primary race for an open seat, while Jerramy Dear-Ruel stands as the lone Democrat.
Regier is the daughter of Republican Sen. Keith Regier, who is running unopposed in his primary bid for reelection. He’ll face Democrat Guthrie Quist in the general election.
Tutvedt is a well-known local lawmaker who represented Senate District 3 from 2009 to 2017.
In Kalispell’s House District 7, Republican incumbent Frank Garner has a challenger in Jerry O’Neil, who represented House District 3 from 2011 to 2015 and served in the state senate before that. O’Neil initially filed to run in the crowded Republican primary for Senate District 2, but withdrew to run against Garner.
Ross Frazier is running as the only Democrat while Nicholas Ramlow is running as a Libertarian candidate.
A competitive primary race has shaped up in House District 9 between incumbent Republican David Dunn and Brian Putnam, who are both seeking a seat that encompasses Evergreen, informally known as the “chainsaw district” because of its blue-collar roots in the timber industry. There are no Democrats running in the district.
In Bigfork’s House District 10, incumbent Republican Mark Noland is seeking reelection while Bigfork resident Doug Mahlum registered to challenge him.
In House District 11, which includes Somers and Lakeside, incumbent Republican Rep. Derek Skees has a challenger in Dee Kirk-Boon, the former chair of the Flathead County Republican Committee. Skees won the seat in 2016 and is seeking re-election to his final term in that legislative district, which spans the lower Flathead Valley and the northeast portion of Flathead Lake. He previously represented House District 4 from 2011 to 2013.
Kirk-Boon’s candidacy sets up a potentially contentious primary battle in a district that leans heavily Republican as an ideological divide emerges between the heavily conservative Skees and the more moderate Kirk-Boon.
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