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  Comments (18) Total Wednesday Apr. 23, 2014
2014 Elections Taking Shape
Early filings reveal contested primary races in Flathead County
Republican Speaker of the House Mark Blasdel during the 63rd Legislative Assembly in Helena. File Photo.
An early set of legislative candidates surged through the gates Jan. 9 on the opening day of filing with the Montana Secretary of State’s Office, setting the stage for several contested primary races in the Flathead Valley.

Of the 14 candidates who have filed for legislative office in the Flathead, two standouts are sure to draw attention in the primary election showdown for Kalispell’s Senate District 4 — Speaker of the House Mark Blasdel, R-Somers, and former Kalispell Mayor Tammi Fisher.

Blasdel and Fisher, also a Republican, will vie for the seat currently held by outgoing Republican Sen. Jon Sonju, who announced in July that he would not seek re-election after a single term. Sonju has endorsed Blasdel, a longtime friend who was elected to House District 10 in 2006 and has served in four legislative sessions.

“I have had the privilege to represent the fine citizens in Kalispell, Somers and Lakeside over my tenure in the Montana House,” Blasdel, a small business owner, said in a statement. “Kalispell needs someone who can take the voice of small business owners and employees to the state legislature. I’ve been doing this for eight years and would be honored to continue fighting for job growth, tax reform, and the protection of the rights of Montana’s citizens.”

In announcing her primary challenge, Fisher said her term as mayor of Kalispell gives her a depth of experience managing the core of the senate district, which encompasses virtually all of Kalispell, and she hopes to appeal to the same voters she represented as mayor over the last four years.

“It has been a pleasure to serve this city but I have tapped out everything I aspire to do on this level,” she said. “The obvious choice is to run for Senate District 4 and represent the heart of Kalispell, which is my base. It’s who I am comfortable with and I think it will be good to continue that if my constituency will allow me.”

Other contested races include the bid for House District 7, with former Kalispell Police Chief Frank Garner and Ronalee Skees both filing as Republican candidates. Skees is the wife of former Whitefish Rep. Derek Skees, who has filed his candidacy for the Montana Public Service Commission.

In House District 8, incumbent Rep. Steve Lavin, a Montana Highway Patrol Trooper who lives in Kalispell, has filed as a Republican and Lynn Stanley has filed as a Democrat. Stanley, a Libby native and 24-year Kalispell resident, recently retired from a 40-year publishing career with Oxford University Press. She is a co-chairwoman for Citizens for a Better Flathead.

Incumbent Rep. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell, filed for re-election in House District 4.

Ed Lieser, D-Whitefish, the lone elected Democratic official in Flathead County, said he will seek re-election for House District 5 but has not yet officially filed.

Bigfork resident Mark Noland filed as a Republican in House District 10, the seat currently held by Blasdel.

Rep. Carl Glimm, R-Kila, filed for re-election in House District 6, and faces a challenge by Democrat David Fischlowitz of Whitefish.

Rep. Randy Brodehl, R-Kalispell, filed for re-election in House District 9, and Rep. Jerry O’Neil, R-Columbia Falls, filed for re-election in House District 3.

Somers resident Mike Hebert filed as a Republican in House District 11, which is currently held by Rep. Greg Hertz, R-Polson, who is opting to run for the House District 12 seat held by Rep. Dan Salomon, R-Ronan.

Here are the Flathead Valley candidates who have filed for office as of Jan. 10:

Tammi Fisher, R-Kalispell, SD4
Mark Blasdel, R-Somers, SD4

Jerry O’Neil, R-Columbia Falls, HD 3

Keith Regier, R-Kalispell, HD4

David Fischlowitz, D-Whitefish, HD6
Carl Glimm, R-Kila, HD6

Frank Garner, R-Kalispell, HD7
Ronalee Skees, R-Kalispell, HD7

Lynn Stanley, D-Kalispell, HD8
Steve Lavin, R-Kalispell, HD8

Randy Brodehl, R-Kalispell, HD9

Mark Noland, R-Bigfork, HD10

Mike Hebert, R-Somers, HD11

Greg Hertz, R-Polson, HD12
On 01-16-14, luke enbactexas commented....
Oh Little Jon Sunju He sat one lazy term in a senate seat A second would be a repeat So he said with a sneer I have a senate seat hear To sell it I will To a Tom , Mark or Bill So he put it in play And…
Kellyn Brown
Kellyn Brown7m
@jfranz88 Thanks for ruining my birthday.
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@mallelis I remember it thusly: king has a g, and a king reigns.
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