One of the two contested Hill County races in the general election has lost a candidate.
Re p u b l i c a n William “Bill” Gupton, who was facing Democrat Sandy Brown in the Nov. 2 general election for Hill County treasurer and assessor, filed his paperwork Tuesday with the Hill County Clerk and Recorder’s office to withdraw his candidacy.
Gupton spoke this morning with a reporter from a site near Anaconda, where he will work as manager for the company that will administer the new power generation plant being built there by NorthWestern Energy.
“I have a lot of mixed feelings about leaving Havre,” Gupton said, adding that he made many friends in town and enjoyed being here.
“But this was a good opportunity for me and one that I felt like I couldn’t pass up,” he said.
He said he also regrets losing the chance to take the office of treasurer for the county.
“I was looking forward to getting in there and, hopefully, make the changes I thought I could make,” he said, adding, “I thought maybe I could bring a breath of fresh air to the office.” Under state law, the Hill County Republican party has until Wednesday, Aug. 18, to nominate a replacement candidate.
Hill County Republican Central Committee Chair Andrew Brekke said he expects the committee will convene a special meeting in the next few weeks to interview potential candidates.
If a Republican candidate is found, the candidate must pay the filing fee of $199.52, which is set as a percentage of the base salary for the position, $39,904.22.
Brekke said the committee has been in touch with several possible candidates, and now that Gupton’s withdrawal is official, it will move forward.
“I was of course, disappointed that Bill had to withdraw, but employment opportunities sometimes come up that force people to move,” Brekke said, adding that he thought Gupton would make an excellent treasurer for the county.
If no other candidate is named for the treasurer race, the number of contested elections in the county is slim. In the race for Hi l l Count y Commissioner, James “Jim” Catt Jr., who defeated incumbent Mike Anderson in the Democratic primary, is facing independent Jeff LaVoi in the general election.
In the nonpartisan race for justice of the peace, Audrey Barger faces Cathy Chinske Huston.