By T.J. Pyette
In the latest twist in the Hill County treasurer's race, a campaign worker for former candidate Wanda Mork says she doesn't think Mork planned to run a serious campaign.
Zella Witter, Mork's campaign treasurer, said this week that after she agreed to serve as Mork's campaign treasurer, Mork and current Hill County Treasurer Carrie Dickson told her that her services would probably not be needed.
Witter said she came forward after reading in the Havre Daily News that Dickson and Mork, who is chief deputy assessor, deny that Mork agreed to run a shell campaign so that both would retain their jobs after the election.
"It upset me that they denied what they were doing," Witter said. "The taxpayers have a right to know that this is going on."
Mork and Dickson both say they don't recall a conversation with Witter about her role as Mork's campaign treasurer.
Mork dropped out of the race two weeks ago. Her name will still appear as the Republican candidate on the ballot. Dickson, who defeated Kathleen "Kitty" Galbavy-Williams in the June primary, is the Democratic candidate.
Mork's departure from the race prompted Hill County Republican chairman Brad Lotton to allege that Mork had planned to drop out of the race all along if Dickson won the primary.
He said he also believes that if Galbavy-Williams had defeated Dickson in the primary Mork would have stayed in the race, and planned to appoint Dickson as her deputy if she won.
Galbavy-Williams filed to run as a write-in candidate as a Republican four days after Mork dropped out of the race.
Witter said Dickson and Mork thanked her for being willing to serve as Mork's campaign treasurer, but said that Mork would only need to campaign if Galbavy-Williams beat Dickson in the primary.
Witter raised the issue in a letter to the editor that appeared Tuesday in the Havre Daily News.
Dickson again denied that she had any knowledge of or influence over Mork's plans.
"Wanda ran, she ran on her own level. Each candidate runs their own campaign." Dickson said.
Mork admitted that, "I haven't done much" in the way of campaigning.
According to campaign finance reports filed in the Hill County Clerk and Recorder's Office, Mork's campaign didn't spend any money other than the initial filing fee, which she paid herself.
Mork filed to run at 4:15 p.m. on the final day for filing for election on March 21, 10 minutes after Galbavy-Williams filed.