Municipal election deadlines approaching

With spring breaking out in Dillon, thoughts of locals have turned to fishing, golf, gardening—and the upcoming municipal election in November.

The deadline for candidates to register for a spot on the ballot opened on April 20 and will close June 17, noted Beaverhead County Elections Administrator Debbie Scott in a letter she sent last month to current Dillon Mayor Mike Klakken.
Klakken’s position as mayor will go up before voters this year, along with that of Dillon’s city court judge and those of city councilpersons in each of Dillon’s four wards.

To sign up to run for one of those positions, person must be a city resident and, if he or she is running for a City Council seat, a resident of the ward that seat represents (see map).

Candidates must also fill out a brief nomination form available during regular business hours from Scott in the Beaverhead County Clerk & Recorder’s Office in the county courthouse in Dillon and pay a filing fee ($15 for a City Council seat; $402.65 for mayor; and $343.38 for the city judge position).

If a primary election is necessary due to a large influx of candidates, it will be held Sept. 12, followed by final vote on Nov. 7.

Voted into office for a four-year term in 2013, Mayor Klakken will be up for re-election this year, should he choose to run again.

Five Dillon City Council seats will also go before voters, including ones currently occupied by John Garry (Ward 1), Russ Schwandt (Ward 2), Bill Shafer (Ward 3), and Ward 4’s Jim McIsaac and Mandy Maass.

Shafer got elected to his Ward 3 seat in 2013 for a four-year term set to expire at the end of this year.

Garry joined the Dillon City Council in August 2015 by a Council vote to take over a Ward 1 seat vacated earlier that year by a resignation—and then earned a two-year extension from voters in his ward a few months later in that year’s municipal election.

A former member of the Dillon City Council, McIsaac gained his current seat on the Council through a Council vote in March 2015, following the resignation of his Ward 4 predecessor the previous month. He was re-elected by voters in his ward to a two-year term that November.

Maass got the nod from the Council to take over its other Ward 4 seat, which had formerly been held by Seamus Manley—who resigned from the Council last May to spend more time with his family and work. If Maass wants to continue serving as a Ward 4 representative on the City Council, she must run for the remaining two years of the four-year term Manley gained from voters for the position in the 2015 municipal election.

The Council’s newest member, Schwandt was appointed to his Ward 2 seat by a Council vote in January 2017. That seat had become open the previous month with the departure of Kevin Hodge, who was re-elected for a two-year term to it in 2015 but resigned late last year due to his impending move from Dillon.

Dillon’s other three current City Councilpersons—Don Hand, Tom Straugh and Dan Nye—won four-year terms in the 2015 municipal election and will not be required to stand for re-election until 2019.

Thompson took over the City Court bench in October 2014, following the announcement by Shea Erwin that she would soon be leaving the position when her family relocated to northwest Montana. Erwin was appointed by the City Council to succeed John Gutcheck, who died suddenly, less than two weeks after he’d won re-election in 2013 to another four-year term as city court judge.

The Dillon City Council at its regular meeting last week voted to hold the upcoming municipal election by mail ballot.