Another election day of Republican victory has brought the Havre City Council to an even partisan split.
Along with two uncontested Republicans and one Democrat being selected, Republican challenger Rick Dow defeated Ward 3 Democratic incumbent Bob Kaul on Tuesday night, with 320 votes to Kaul’s 264.
Dow began his acceptance speech thanking his wife, noting their recent 16th anniversary, thanking her for that time and her support in the election before reflecting on the campaign.
“The one thing I heard going around, knocking on doors, whether from liberals or conservatives, was ‘you’re running for city council? That’s a thankless job,'" Dow said. “But I’ve had a few thankless jobs, so I’m looking forward to it.
“I look forward to serving everyone in Ward 3, not just the people that voted for me.”
Aside from his family and supporters, Dow also wanted to thank his predecessors in the Hill County Republican Party that he said paved the way for his success, including Andrew Brekke, former Mayor Bob Rice, Terry Schend and the legislators Wendy Warburton, Kris Hansen and Rowlie Hutton.
Dow also thanked his opponent for his service and his campaign.
“I think we proved that people can disagree without being disagreeable,” Dow said.
When he first heard the results, Kaul was at the courthouse and expressed his acceptance of the will of the voters.
“The people have spoken,” Kaul said. “When they speak, you go with it.”
He thanked his wife, his supporters and the Democratic party “for all of their help.”
“I feel very fortunate to give four years back to the city of Havre,” Kaul said.
For Andrew Brekke, the evening was not just a victory for his uncontested race or the one contested race that the party he heads won, but is another in a series of recent victories for Hill County Republicans.
“I’m delighted,” Brekke said. “It’s been a long hard fight for Republicans.
“We don’t have partisan debates in council, as you see in the way our votes are split, but ideology does come into it, because it’s about values.”
Brekke also commended Kaul on his service over the past four years.
According to Brekke and his Democratic counterpart John Musgrove, this is the first time in anyone’s memory that there have been this many Republicans elected to the Havre City Council.
“Obviously I am disappointed, but I do wish Mr. Dow well,” Musgrove said. “The best thing that could happen out of this is people could get along and get things done for the city.”
The Republicans seem to be on the same page, as the latest Ward 2 candidate, Brian Barrows reiterated the commitment to Havre he made when he retired as the principal of of Sunnyside Intermediate School earlier this year.
“I look forward to working in the community,” Barrows said.