By Ellen Thompson/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
Democrat Mike Anderson defeated two other candidates to replace Pat Conway on the Hill County Commission.
In the county's only other contested race, incumbent Hill County Attorney Cyndee Peterson easily defeated Republican challenger Randy Randolph.
Voter turnout in Hill County was heavy, with almost 69 percent of the 9,866 registered voters going to the polls.
Staffers in the Hill County Clerk and Recorder's Office worked until 4 a.m. to get all of the votes counted.
The canvass of votes will take place Thursday afternoon.
According to unofficial results, Anderson, a Havre firefighter and union activist, won with 39.1 percent of the vote, Republican Jody Manuel took 34.8 percent, and independent Wyatt Dahlin had 23.3 percent. Their respective vote totals were 2,652, 2,361 and 1,579.
Waiting at the Eagles Club at the Hill County Democrats' election party early this morning, Anderson said the three-way race had been interesting.
"Dahlin, he's been taking votes from both sides," he said.
"I think it was a well-run race on everybody's part," he added. "I'd like to thank my opponents for running a nice clean race and it was close."
At 2 a.m., Dahlin came by the Hill County Courthouse to check on the results.
"I feel good about what we've done. I feel good about the campaign," Dahlin said despite returns that showed him running behind Anderson and Manuel. Dahlin's supporters spent the evening at 15 West waiting for results.
Dahlin said today he heard the final outcome on the radio. "My congratulations to Mike. He worked hard and had a good campaign," he said.
Manuel said he's looking forward to getting back to normal life.
Manuel's campaign ads were popular, including one that showed him dressed as a waiter, with a quote bubble that read: "Hill County, party of 15,000."
"We just decided from the beginning that we would just have a little bit of fun with it. I didn't want anybody to think I didn't take the job seriously. I don't take myself as seriously as the typical politician."
He added, "I have a newfound appreciation for the people who do decide to run for office."
In the race for Hill county attorney, Peterson won the final two years of the term vacated by County Attorney David Race when he was appointed a state district judge. The County Commission chose Peterson in August 2003 to fill Rice's position. Peterson took 67 percent of the vote to Randolph's 28.5. The vote count was 4,547 to 1,909.
"I'm thankful and I'm ready to keep working," Peterson said this morning.
Randolph said he think Peterson is going to "do a fine job."
"I didn't know exactly what to expect and I didn't invest a lot of money into it," Randolph said. "I'll certainly consider running again in the next election. I think it's good to have competition in an election anyway. It forces (incumbents) to be a little more responsible in their next term."
Hill County elected unopposed incumbent Dena Irene Tippets to another term as clerk of district court.
Chouteau County filled two positions Tuesday. Larry R. Stollfuss, a Republican, defeated Democrat Laura Lee Wood for the combined position of clerk of court and county superintendent of schools. Stollfuss won 1,701 to 1,219.
Kenneth R. Evans was elected to the Choteau County Commission after running unopposed.
In Liberty County, two positions were uncontested. Anne Seidlitz-Melton was elected clerk of district court. Russ Tempel was elected county commissioner.