Longtime BHC officials knocked out of primary election

Library mill levy made permanent
Thursday, June 7, 2018

Photo by Andrew Turck

Nikki Weigand (left) and Jeni Conway open ballot boxes Tuesday night as votes arrive at the courthouse in Hardin.

Two Big Horn County officials, each with more than a decade of experience in their positions, were knocked out of the running in Tuesday’s primary election.

The first – Justice of the Peace Leroy Not Afraid – garnered 614 votes, falling behind both Ernie Bear Don’t Walk with 706 and Karen Molina with 928. Not Afraid was elected as justice of the peace in January 2007 and became the first Crow tribal member to attain the position. Speaking to The Billings Gazette at the time, he stated his intention was “to represent the underrepresented.”

“When you’re running for office, you’re an idealist,” Not Afraid told the Gazette during his first year. “When you get into office, it’s not about color anymore. It’s real dealing with humans across the board.”

County Commissioner Chad Fenner was the second to be voted out. He garnered 181 votes, behind Linda Greenwalt with 290 and Larry Vandersloot with 418. As a commissioner since 2001, Fenner oversaw projects such as the expansion of the Big Horn County Historical Museum and the construction of the new Hardin Airport.

Fellow Commissioner George Real Bird III, who witnessed the ballot-counting process at the County Courthouse, said Fenner – who began in the position back when Real Bird was in high school – can be proud of “a job well done.”

“He had two opponents who were pretty tough,” Real Bird said. “I’ve met Larry; he came in sitting on our board meetings the last couple months. And I’ve known Linda; she serves on our Fair Board and really wants to do more with our county fair.”

Personally, he continued, he’d like to see “full line-ups” of shows, performances and cultural activities within the county.

Big Horn County Library worker Donna Howe attended the ballot count, first and foremost, as part of a fact-finding assignment in partnership with Edison Research. This company specializes in, among other things, the collection of polling data to help analyze election trends.

She also was pleased to find out that local residents had approved of not only increasing the library’s mill levy from five to six mills, but also making said increase permanent by a vote of 1,177 to 951. Since 2000, the library has needed to ask permission from voters to approve the mill levy every two years. According to Public Services Librarian Ray Dale, the levy won’t require an increase in taxes when compared to previous years, due to lowered coal production.

Interacting with a small crowd of about 20, Howe stated close to midnight that the experience of seeing an election in action had been “kind of exciting.”

“I didn’t know there was going to be a whole bunch of people here,” she said. “And it was quick. Look, we’re already at 11:30 and we have almost all of it done.”

Big Horn County primary election results

Ballots cast: Democrat – 1,416; Republican – 1,061; Green – 66

Dem – U.S. Senator: Jon Tester – 1,342; Writein – 5

Dem – U.S. Representative: John Heenan – 381; Grant Kier – 110; John Meyer – 177; Lynda Moss – 195; Jared Pettinato – 55; Kathleen Williams – 318

Dem – Clerk of the Supreme Court: Rex Renk – 1,113; Write-in – 14

Dem – State Representative District 41: Rae Peppers – 274; Write-in – 5

Dem – State Representative District 42: Sharon Stewart Peregoy – 974; Write-in – 10

Rep – U.S. Senator: Troy Downing – 277; Russ Fagg – 378; Albert Olszewski – 97; Matt Rosendale – 263; Write-in – 3

Rep – U.S. Representative: Greg Gianforte – 888; Write-in – 24

Rep – Clerk of the Supreme Court: Bowen Greenwood – 764; Write-in – 5

Rep – State Representative District 41: Write-in – 15

Rep – State Representative District 42: Write-in – 63

Green – U.S. Senator: Timothy Adams – 21; Steve Kelly – 30; Write-in – 3

Green – U.S. Representative: Doug Campbell – 44; Write-in – 3

Green – Clerk of the Supreme Court: Write-in – 8

Green – State Representative District 41: Write-in – 2

Green – State Representative District 42: Write-in – 8

Supreme Court Justice 4: Beth Baker – 1,933; Write-in – 21

Supreme Court Justice 2: Ingrid Gustafson – 1,935; Write-in – 13

District Court Judge for District 22: Raymond Kuntz – 428; Matthew Wald – 1,893

Commissioner District 3: Chad Fenner – 181; Linda Greenwalt – 290; Larry Vandersloot – 418

Clerk and Recorder: Nellie Badbear-Littlelight – 1,081; Kimberly Yarlott – 1,320; Write-in – 4

Sheriff: Lawrence Bighair – 412; Frederick Brien – 110; Dillon Dosson – 143; Gary Johnson II – 263; Rudolph King Jr. – 87; Theodore Littlelight – 356; Winfield Russell – 121; Robert Simpson – 968; Write-in – 7

Coroner: Terry Bullis – 2,205; Write-in – 22

Attorney: Gerald “Jay” Harris – 1,921; Write-in – 72

Supt of Schools (parttime): Vicki Gale – 1,202; John Small – 1,099; Writein – 3

Treasurer: Denise Rios – 2,126; Write-in – 17

Justice of the Peace: Ernie Bear Don’t Walk – 706; Karen Molina – 928; Leroy Not Afraid – 614; Write-in – 140

Big Horn County Public Library Levy: For – 1,177; Against – 951

Category:

Upcoming Events