Two Montana Towns Elect Write-in Candidates for Mayor

On November 7, many municipalities in Montana held city elections. In Hardin and also in Lodge Grass, a write-in candidate was elected Mayor. In both cases the write-in candidate defeated candidates whose names were on the ballot. They winners were Joe Purcell in Hardin, and James Dabney in Lodge Grass. See this story. Thanks to Darryl Perry for the link.


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Two Montana Towns Elect Write-in Candidates for Mayor — 2 Comments

  1. In Hardin, mayor-elect Purcell had planned to run in the next election, but when he saw that those who filed were newcomers, he decided to run as a write-in. It is possible that an incumbent mayor or city council member did not file, and it was too late for Purcell to file.

    Of the two candidates on the ballot, one urged a vote for the other saying he didn’t want to split the vote (he said he and his wife were planning to vote for the other candidate), and suggested that the establishment had chosen Purcell.

    Both elections were all-mail. This would make it easier to cast a write-in vote, since you would not be rushed standing in a dimly-lit polling booth, trying to remember the name of the candidate. It might or might not be harder to reach voters to remind them of the write-in candidacy. In a small town, his candidacy could have been treated as a full-fledged candidacy, with an invitation to any forums and columns in the weekly newspaper. This was also top of the ballot race. It’s not like an election where you find some local races on the 5th page of the ballot.

    Lodge Grass is quite small, and it is quite likely that everybody knows everybody else.

  2. “Lodge Grass is quite small, and apparently everybody knows everybody else.”

    Yes, as someone who has driven on I-90 between Sheridan, WY, and Billings, MT, half a dozen times and sometimes needs to find a bathroom on the way, I can attest to this.

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