Rosendale, Williams win in respective primary elections

Charlie Denison
Friday, June 8, 2018

Primary season has ended, and results are in.

Matt Rosendale won the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, beginning what Montanans are already calling the “Battle of the Flat-Tops,” as the current state auditor hopes to take Democratic Senator Jon Tester’s seat this November. 

Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte also has a challenge on his hands, as former state legislator Kathleen Williams won the Montana Democratic primary.

Fergus County votes were a reflection of statewide trends, as Rosendale and Williams both won in Fergus County (849 votes for Rosendale, 372 votes for Williams). 

In the Republican primary, Russ Fagg came in second, with 598 votes and Troy Downing came in third with 499 votes. As for the Democratic primary, John Heenan took second place with 217 votes and Grant Kier took third with 135 votes.

Gianforte received 2,188 votes and Tester received 851 votes in their uncontested races. 

Rachel Stansberry, a Lewistown Democrat running for the House District 29 seat currently occupied by Republican Dan Bartel, received 676 votes. Bartel received 1,703 votes.

This was a big primary for the Public Service Commission, as Republicans had a four-person race. Republican Randy Pinocci won the Fergus primary handily, receiving 1,146 votes. Rob Cook took second with 447 votes, Mark Wicks took third place with 315 votes and Cory McKinney took fourth with 199 votes.

Democrat Doug Kaercher received 746 votes from Fergus County in his uncontested race for Public Service Commissioner.

2018 Primary Election Results for Central Montana counties

U.S Senate


Matt Rosendale – Fergus: 849; Judith Basin: 152; Petroleum: 57

Russ Fagg – Fergus: 598; Judith Basin: 148; Petroleum: 44

Troy Downing – Fergus: 499; Judith Basin: 137; Petroleum: 39

Albert Olszewski – Fergus: 415; Judith Basin: 72; Petroleum: 12


Jon Tester – Fergus: 851; Judith Basin: 174; Petroleum: 31

Green Party 

Timothy Adams – Fergus: 8; Judith Basin: 1; Petroleum: 0

Steve Kelly – Fergus: 7; Judith Basin: 1; Petroleum: 1

U.S. Representative


Greg Gianforte – Fergus: 2,188; Judith Basin: 465; Petroleum: 147


Kathleen Williams – Fergus: 372; Judith Basin: 73; Petroleum: 5

John Heenan – Fergus: 217; Judith Basin: 49; Petroleum: 15
Grant Kier – Fergus: 35; Judith Basin: 26; Petroleum: 7
Lynda Moss – Fergus: 45; Judith Basin: 7; Petroleum: 3
John Meyer – Fergus: 32; Judith Basin: 5; Petroleum: 1
Jared Pettinato – Fergus: 20; Judith Basin: 3; Petroleum: 0

Green Party 

Doug Campbell – Fergus: 16; Judith Basin: 2; Petroleum: 1


State Representative HD29


Dan Bartel – Fergus: 1,703; Petroleum: 139 


 Rachel Stansberry – Fergus: 676; Petroleum: 26


State Representative HD30


E. Wylie Galt – Fergus: 447; Judith Basin: 429

(No Democrat candidate)


Public Service Commission, District 1


Randy Pinocci – Fergus: 1,146; Judith Basin: 184; Petroleum: 29
Rob Cook – Fergus: 447; Judith Basin: 140; Petroleum: 36
Mark Wicks – Fergus: 315; Judith Basin: 51; Petroleum: 29
Cory McKinney – Fergus: 199; Judith Basin: 50; Petroleum: 28

Democrat Public Service Commission:
Doug Kaercher – Fergus: 746; Judith Basin: 138; Petroleum: 26


Clerk of Supreme Court


Bowen Greenwood – Fergus: 1,959; Judith Basin: 396; Petroleum: 124


Rex Renk – Fergus: 745; Judith Basin: 133; Petroleum: 26


Supreme Court Justice 4

Beth Baker – Fergus: 2,640; Judith Basin: 532; Petroleum: 151


Supreme Court Justice 2

Ingrid Gustafson – Fergus: 2,634; Judith Basin: 532; Petroleum: 150


District Court Judge District 10

Jon A. Oldenburg – Fergus: 2,925; Judith Basin: 584; Petroleum: 166


Judith Basin County Offices

County Commissioner District 3, Cody McDonald: 453

Clerk and Recorder, Amanda H. Kelly: 158

Sheriff/Coroner, John Schmitt: 459

County Attorney, Heather Perry: 464

County Treasurer, Tammy R. Ziere: 466


Fergus County 

Precinct Committeeman, Precinct 11

Randy Boling – 75

Jacob Williams – 49

Precinct Committeewoman, Precinct 11

Betty J. Yaeger – 126


Voter turnout

In all, 3,292 people voted in Fergus County, including 2,115 absentee votes.

“We issued 3,103 absentee ballots,” said Rana Wichman, Fergus County Clerk and Recorder, “which means 72 percent of absentee ballots were returned.”

 But turnout at the polls was low. Wichman said only 43 percent of the county voted, which she considers a dramatic decline.

“This is very low for a primary election,” Wichman said. “The overall turnout is usually higher.”

Although Montana as a whole had a higher turnout than some previous midterm primary elections, the state’s average was just over 41 percent.

“It looks like statewide hardly anybody made it over 50 percent,” Wichman said. “There were a few, but not a lot.”

Low voter turnouts plagued surrounding counties, as well. Judith Basin County saw a 49.79 percent voter turnout and Petroleum County had a voter turnout of 45 percent.

Nevertheless, Wichman said election night went well, as she had plenty of help and there were no issues with the counting machines.

“We were done counting and cleaned up by 10 p.m.,” Wichman said. “For us, that’s a banner night.”



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