Friday, December 01, 2023

GOP candidates fare well in county

| November 4, 2004 11:00 PM

Tuesday was a good day for Republicans in Lincoln County, with local voters favoring the GOP in every race in which the party had a candidate.

Turnout was heavy, with 69 percent of the county¹s 12,421 registered voters casting ballots.

While there weren¹t any reported problems in the county election process, the Precinct 13 polling place, Plummer School, saw a steady long line of voters during most of the day and into the evening. It brought out the best in people.

³Our lines were long but everyone was so special; they were patient and took the time to vote,² said LaDonna Mack.

She, and the other volunteers, was especially thankful to Roy Cook who brought pizza for them.

³We did the best we could and really appreciated all of the good people and the kind words,² she said.

In the area¹s closest race, Republican challenger Ralph Heinert outpolled Democratic incumbent Eileen Carney by a 49-vote margin, 1,823 to 1,774, to take the state House District 1 seat. Constitution Party candidate Russell Brown drew 146 votes.

Heinert, who retired from Champion International, said it was the first time he had ³run for anything.²

³Probably the strangest feeling was being in the booth and seeing my name on the ballot,² he said.

³I¹m going to go down there and do my best to represent the people from Libby and Troy who supported me,² he said.

Heinert said he appreciated the enormous job done by the election volunteers considering the large turnout on Tuesday.

He said he had to wait until 2 a.m. before results from precincts in his district began coming in. He said he was told the absentee and early ballots had to be counted.

For House District 2, incumbent Republican Rick Maedje fended off a challenge from former county commissioner Noel Williams, a Democrat. Maedje drew 2,582 votes to Williams¹ 1,852.

Incumbent Democrat John Konzen of Troy held on to his District 2 county commissioner¹s seat, drawing 4,817 votes to Constitution Party challenger Robert Ferguson¹s 2,585.

Democrat Nadine Pival was unopposed in her bid for another term as the county¹s clerk of court. Michael Prezeau also ran unopposed in the election for district court judge. Voters chose to retain Prezeau by a margin of 5,118 to 2,350.

Lincoln County voters chose President George W. Bush over John Kerry 70 percent to 27 percent. Statewide, Bush drew 59 percent of the vote and Kerry 38 percent. Of the four other candidates on the ballot, independent Ralph Nader drew the most votes with 101 for a showing of 1.2 percent.

Statewide, incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg easily defeated Democrat Tracy Velazquez, 64 percent to 33 percent. Locally, Rehberg garnered 72 percent of the vote, Velazquez 25 and Libertarian Mike Fellows 3 percent.

Montana voters chose Democrat Brian Schweitzer as governor over Republican Bob Brown by a margin of 51 percent to 46 percent. Locally, Brown defeated Schweitzer 56 percent to 40 percent. Libertarian Stanley Jones and Green Party candidate Bob Kelleher each drew around 2 percent of the vote.

In the race for secretary of state, Republican Brad Johnson edged out Democrat Bill Kennedy by a 51-49 margin across the state while handily taking Lincoln County 64-36.

For state auditor, local voters picked Republican Duane Grimes over Democratic incumbent John Morrison 57-43, while Morrison won statewide election 56-44.

For public service commissioner for District 4, local voters chose Republican Doug Mood over Democrat Geoff Badenoch 4,996 to 2,657 while Mood won across the district by a margin of 43,971 votes to 40,013.

Statewide, Democrat Linda McCulloch held on to her position as superintendent of public instruction with a 57-43 margin over Republican Bob Anderson. Locally, Anderson defeated McCulloch 55-45.

In the non-partisan races for the Montana Supreme Court, local voters voted similarly to their counterparts across the state, choosing Jim Nelson over Cindy Younkin and Brian Morris over Edward McLean.

Local voters broke ranks with Montanans overall on only one of the seven ballot issues — I-147, which would have allowed the use of the cyanide leach process for mining in the state. The measure failed 58-42 statewide but was approved 55-45 in Lincoln County.

Constitutional Amendment 40, governing the state¹s noxious weed trust fund, passed by a 76-24 margin both statewide and in Lincoln County.

Constitutional Amendment 41, recognizing Montanans¹ hunting and fishing heritage, passed 81-19 across the state and 84-16 in Lincoln County.

Constitutional Amendment 42, which would have amended term limits for public officials, failed 69-31 statewide and 72-28 in Lincoln County.

Constitutional Amendment 96, banning same-sex marriage, passed 66-34 statewide and 76-24 in Lincoln County.

Initiative 148, allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, passed 62-38 across the state and 61-39 in Lincoln County.

Initiative 148, increasing the tobacco tax, passed 63-37 statewide and 59-41 in Lincoln County.