The Blaine and Hill County commissions soon will be looking at the list of people nominated to fill an empty state lawmaker sear.
A joint committee of the Blaine and Hill county Republican Central Committees Tuesday selected three people from whom the commissions of the counties can appoint a replacement for the state Senate position vacated by the resignation of former Havre Republican Rowlie Hutton.
The committee, comprising three members of the Blaine County Republican committee and three from the Hill County committee, selected Harlem insurance agent Don Richman as their top choice, followed by Havre retiree Les Bender and Havre businessman Craig Tilleman.
Ruben McKinney of Havre took fourth in the votes and did not make the list to be forwarded to the Blaine and Hill county commissions, which will have 15 days after receiving the nominees to select one as Hutton’s replacement.
Retired Harlem farmer Douglas Stuart withdrew his candidacy Monday, and Blaine County Republican Central Committee Chair Richard Cronk announced at the start of Tuesday’s meeting that he also was withdrawing.
Hutton announced in February that he was leaving his job as preacher at the Fifth Avenue Christian Church in Havre and would resign his Senate seat at the end of his session. Hutton was elected in November 2010.
The Montana Secretary of State received his resignation letter July 18, when the resignation became official and the seat was vacated.
Hutton and his wife, Suzette, have moved to Nebraska, where he will serve as a preacher at a church there and the couple will work as head residents at a Christian college.