With the resignation of first-term state Sen. Rowlie Hutton, R-Havre, now official, the Republican central committees in Hill and Blaine counties are starting the next step — selecting nominees to take his slot in the state Legislature.
Hill County Republican Chair Andrew Brekke said the joint committee will schedule a meeting to go over the interested people.
“As soon as we call the meeting we would release the names, ” he said.
Hutton was part of a historic Republican sweep in Hill and Blaine counties last fall, with himself, House candidate Kris Hansen and incumbent Rep. Wendy Warburton upsetting all three Democrats in the general election in the traditionally blue counties.
In February, Hutton announced that he was resigning his position as pastor at Havre’s Fifth Avenue Christian Church and resigning his Senate seat at the end of the legislative session, to move to Nebraska.
Hutton said he will be preaching at Kingsway Christian Church, and he and his wife, Suzette, also will work as head residents at Nebraska Christian College in Papillion, Neb., near Omaha.
He said in June that he was in the process of sending his official resignation to Secretary of State Linda McCulloch.
McCulloch received his letter, dated July 13, on July 18, when his resignation became officially effective.
Under state law, the nominating committee — comprising members of both District 17 counties’ Republican committees — now have 45 days from the official date of resignation to submit three nominees to the county commissions of both counties. Those commissions then have 15 days to appoint a replacement from the nominees.
If the joint commissions are unable to select an appointee from the nominees, they must request a second list of three new nominees.
Although he declined to name them, Brekke said the committee has talked with six people who are interested in the position, and that more could well come forward before the committee meets.
Brekke, Gail Rader and Brad Lotton represent the Hill County Republicans on the committee, while Myles Hutton, Randy Hinebauch and George Brekke represent the Blaine County Republicans.