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Williams elected as mayor; Beach, Berke and Smith secure city council seats

The Western News | November 2, 2021 9:00 PM

Roughly double the usual number of voters turned out for tight races in south Lincoln county in this year’s municipal election.

Election officials are used to seeing around 26 and 32 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in most municipal races, according to Paula Buff, county election administrator.

When county officials completed preliminary counts an hour after polls closed on Nov. 2, Troy had seen a turnout of 65.04 percent. In Libby, 61.65 percent of eligible voters cast absentee ballots. Libby’s percentage is certain to increase once election officials factor in ballots residents cast at the polls, according to Buff.

Libby Mayor Peggy Williams retained her seat against challenger City Councilor Hugh Taylor. Williams won the election with 345 votes to Taylor’s 299. Resident Kenny Rayome Jr., who bowed out of the race but still appeared on ballots, received 51 votes.

Gary Beach and Kristin Smith retained their seats on Libby City Council and were joined by newcomer Melissa Berke. Beach led the pack with 449 votes. Berke followed with 373 and Smith received 352.

City Councilor Zach McNew secured 230 votes and was closely tailed by incumbent Rob Dufficy, who received 228 votes. Resident DC Orr, a former city councilor, earned 176 votes.

While McNew failed in his bid for a four-year term, he will remain on city council. Prior to the election, McNew was appointed to complete the remaining two years of Williams' term on the council.

In Troy, City Councilor Chuck Ekstedt unseated Mayor Dallas Carr in a tight race. Ekstedt secured 169 votes to Carr’s 146.

Eureka voters elected Gary D. DeDina for town council member with 89 over Krystle Townsend’s 63.

Election officials may still certify a couple provisional ballots from Libby and Troy before finalizing results. None of the races appeared close enough to merit a recount, according to Buff.