Harlem insurance agent Donald Richman soundly defeated his opponent in Tuesday’s primary, Harlem businessman Douglas Stuart, with more than 76 percent of the vote. He now advances to the general election to fill out the term vacated by Havre minister Rowlie Hutton.
Richman won the primary for Senate District 17, in Blaine and Hill counties, 1,240 to 378.
Richman now will face former state Senator and Public Service Commission Chair Greg Jergeson of Chinook, who is representing the Democrats in that race.
The winner of the Senate race will take the seat now held by Havre businessman Craig Tilleman, who was appointed in a split decision to take over for Hutton.
Hutton, who was elected in 2010, announced during the 2011 legislative session he would resign to move with his wife to Nebraska.
The Blaine and Hill county Republican Central Committees recommended the joint Blaine and Hill county commissions appoint Richman to take over Hutton’s seat.
In a complicated formula giving different weight to the county votes, two Hill County commissioners overrode the other four, giving the seat to Tilleman with Richman coming in second in the vote.
Tilleman filed for the race to fill out the last two years of Hutton’s term, but then withdrew. Tilleman cited family issues preventing him from completing the race.
Richman defeated Stuart 416-59 in Blaine County. Stuart did much better in Hill County, where he lost to a tally of 824-319.