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Larson fails in bid for Republican treasurer nomination

 

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In a shor t special meet ing Wednesday, the Hill County Republican Central Committee nixed Deputy Hill County Treasurer Wanda Larson's bid for its nomination as the Republican candidate in the race for Hill County treasurer and assessor.

The committee did not take the tabled discussion of her nomination back up during its Wednesday meeting, effectively ending her request.

C ommi t t e e Chair Andrew Brekke said after no one seconded a motion to take the discussion back up that the c o m m i t t e e wished Larson luck and encouraged her to conduct a campaign as a write-in candidate.

"We appreciate your candor and your testimony in the last meeting about why you would be a good candidate, but, unfortunately, at this time, that is what the decision of the committee is," he said.

Larson said after the meeting that she has not decided if she will conduct a write-in campaign.

"I wanted their backing, but I respect their decision," she said about the committee's action.

The tabling of her nomination leaves Democratic candidate Sandy Brown without an opponent at this time. Brown, a clerk in the treasurer's office, defeated incumbent Hill County Treasurer Carrie Dickson in the primary.

Republican candidate William "Bill" Gupton was unopposed in the primary and automatically advanced to the general election. He later withdrew his candidacy after taking a job in Anaconda.

The Republicans have until next Wednesday to nominate someone to take Gupton's position, but Brekke said during Wednesday's meeting that he doubts if the committee will revisit the issue.

According to Montana Code Annotated, people must file a declaration of intent to run as a write-in candidate for county office at least 10 days before absentee ballots are available — the ballots will be available this year on Oct. 4 — with the clerk and recorder's office.

Brekke said during the meeting that he had discussed the issue intensively with members of the Republican Central Committee after the meeting last week.

"I think the feeling of the commitTee was that (Bill Gupton) was nominated in the official election process … ," Brekke said.

"We respect the process itself.

If you want to run for office … (you file) at an appropriate time." Larson said during last week's meeting that due to an illness in her family, she was out of Havre most of February through April, leaving her unable to campaign.

Brekke said the committee is not holding judgment on either Brown or Larson, adding that the committee believes both are very qualified for the position.

"At this time we decline to nominate any candidate for this position and will respect the vote of the people that elected Sandy Brown in the Democratic Primary and Bill Gupton in the Republican Primary," he said.

During the meeting last week, Larson answered repeated questions about her party affiliation with the response that she is a Republican and has considered herself a member of that party for 30 years.

She added that she does not think party affiliation comes into play much in the treasurer's office, or in it's interactions with any county office.

Many Republican Central Committee members and audience members also made that comment — that the office should be nonpartisan — during last week's meeting.

Last week Larson also was asked why she withdrew her campaign for the office as a Republican after the primary elect ion in 2 0 0 2 , leaving Di c k s o n , wh o wo n t h e Democratic primary, the only candidate campaigning for the office.

Larson, running as Wanda Mork, was unopposed in the 2002 Republican Primary. She said at last week's meeting that some problems with her marriage at that time left her unable to conduct an effective campaign in the 2002 general election.

 
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