Fallon Holds Slim Lead in Commission Race; Provisional Ballots to be Counted

Incumbent Pam Holmquist trails Jack Fallon by four votes, well within the threshold to request a recount

By Micah Drew
The Commissioners Chambers at the Flathead County Courthouse on March 11, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

According to unofficial results released by the Flathead County Elections Department early Wednesday morning, the race for county commissioner representing District 2 is a tight one. Incumbent commissioner Pam Holmquist, who is seeking her third six-year term, is trailing challenger John “Jack” Fallon by four votes, 7,401 to 7,405.

The Republican primary race for the seat saw Holmquist facing three challengers in a de facto general election — no Democrat filed for the seat.

A total of 21,010 votes were cast in the commission race, a 20% increase from the 2020 primary election that included a three-person Republican race.

Former Kalispell Police officer Jason Parce finished third in the vote tally with 3,160 votes while Brian Friess earned 3,016. There were 27 votes for write-in candidates.

According to election officials, there are roughly 300 provisional ballots to be reconciled and tabulated on June 13. Provisional ballots include those where electors did not bring the correct identification when voting in person and mail in ballots that may be missing a signature.

If the race between Holmquist and Fallon remains close after provisional ballots are tallied, the trailing candidate may request a recount. Per Montana Code Annotated (MCA) 23-16-201, a candidate “defeated by a margin not exceeding 1/4 of 1% of the total votes cast or by a margin not exceeding 10 votes” may file a recount request with the election administrator. After a recount is requested, the election administrator will notify members of the country recount board who must convene within five days.

Fallon has served on community boards since 1987 when he joined the Evergreen Water and Sewer board. He has also served on the Evergreen Fire District board since 2007 and is a decade into his second stint as a Kalispell Public Schools trustee. If he is officially elected to the county commission he will resign from all boards.

Fallon is also one of three Republican candidates who was specifically targeted by the Flathead County Republican Central Committee for not representing “Republican Values, Conservative Principles and Republican Voters,” according to a mailer sent out in May endorsing candidates. All three targeted candidates lead in their respective races according to current results.

Neither Holmquist nor Fallon could be reached for comment before noon on Wednesday.