A meeting is set for mid-September for the commissioners of Hill and Blaine counties to meet with the candidates for an empty state Senate seat in the counties.
Blaine County Commissioner Vic Miller said this morning that the joint commissions will meet Tuesday, Sept. 20, to talk to the candidates for the seat vacated when Sen. Rowlie Hutton, R-Havre, resigned in the middle of his first term.
The candidates selected were, in order of recommendation, Harlem insurance agent Don Richman and Havreites Craig Tilleman of Tilleman Motor Co. and retired state employee Les Bender.
Under state law, because the Senate district from which Hutton was elected was in two counties, candidates for his replacement must be selected by a joint committee of members of his party from both counties. The final replacement will be selected from that list in a meeting of the commissioners from both counties.
Hill County Commission Chair Mike Wendland said the meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p. m. in the Hospitality Room at Hill County Electric west of Havre. A vote on the replacement is likely to occur that night, he said.
The candidates for the office were selected by a joint committee comprising the members of the Republican Central committees in both counties Hutton represented. Three Blaine County and three Hill County committee members interviewed the candidates in a meeting in Chinook Aug. 30, and selected the finalists for the position.
Hutton won his seat in 2010 in an election that surprised many, with the Republicans talking all three contested seats in Blaine and Hill counties, normally Democratic strongholds. He handily defeated outgoing Speaker of the House Bob Bergren, who could not run for re-election to the House due to term limits.
Shortly into his first legislative session, Hutton announced to the parishioners of the Fifth Avenue Christian Church in Havre that he would be resigning his position there effective the end of April. He told the Havre Daily News in an interview in early February that he would resign his Senate seat at the end of the session.
Hutton told the Havre Daily News his new jobs are preaching at Kingsway Christian Church and he and his wife also will work as head residents at Nebraska Christian College in Papillion, Neb., near Omaha, Neb.