Three have filed for mayor; few others have filed for commission or judge

Updated May 4

Filing for the Great Falls municipal election opened April 20.

The election is scheduled for Nov. 7 and the city typically conducts a mail ballot election.

The following seats are up for election this year:

  • mayor
  • two city commissioners
  • two municipal court judges
  • 45 neighborhood council representatives.

The mayor and neighborhood council representatives serve two year terms.

So far, Joe McKenney, current city commissioner; Cory Reeves, former undersheriff; and Casey Schreiner, a former state legislator, have filed to run for mayor.

Filing for the city election opens April 20

If McKenney is elected mayor, it will create a vacancy in his commission seat. If he loses that race, he’ll hold his commission seat for the remainder of his term.

Bob Kelly is not seeking reelection as mayor.

Election 2021: Results

Commissioners serve four year terms.

Rick Tryon has filed for reelection.

Eric Hinebauch was appointed to fill a commission vacancy in November 2021 and will have to run this year to retain the seat.

Hinebauch said he filed with the county elections office in April and filed with the Montana Secretary of State on May 4.

Kendall Cox has filed with the elections office to run for commission, but hasn’t yet filed with the Secretary of State.

One of the judge seats is a four year term and the newly added position has an initial two year term.

Hinebauch appointed to fill Houck’s city commission seat [2021]

Steve Bolstad has filed to run for another term as municipal judge.

No one else has filed for the city positions, according to the Montana Secretary of State.

Commissioners update city code to add a Municipal Court judge [2022]

All newly elected officials take office in January 2024.

Filing runs through June 19.

Filing closed for city election; officials working to certify candidates for ballot [2021]

Interested candidates complete a declaration of nomination and oath of candidacy form at the Cascade County elections office at 325 2nd Ave. N.

Under state law, a qualified elector must be a resident of the City of Great Falls and be registered to vote.

Those running for mayor, commission and neighborhood council must be qualified city electors.

City election results: Houck, Tryon win [2019]

Those seeking a commission seat must be a resident of Great Falls for at least 60 days preceding the election. Mayoral candidates must be at least 21 years of age and have been a resident of Montana for at least three years and a resident of Great Falls for at least two years preceding the election.

Candidates for neighborhood council must be residents of their designated neighborhood district.

There are nine neighborhood councils with five seats each. Council boundaries are here.

Commissioners update city code to add a Municipal Court judge

Municipal court judge candidates shall have the same qualifications as a judge of the district court as set forth in Article VII, Section 9, of the Montana Constitution, except a municipal court judge need only be admitted, and in good standing, to the practice of law in Montana for at least three years prior to the date of election. A municipal court judge shall be a resident of Cascade County one year preceding the election, and be a resident and qualified elector in the City of Great Falls at the time of his or her election. Further, a municipal court judge shall become certified as provided in state law to assume the functions of that office.

The fees to file are:

  • mayor: $56.16
  • commissioner; $37.44 f
  • neighborhood council representative: $0
  • municipal court judge Department A (four year term): $1,284.15
  • municipal court judge Department B (two year term): $1,070.12

If the Cascade County election administrator determines that a primary election needs to be held, the primary election will be held Sept. 12.

State law states a primary isn’t needed if:

  • the number of candidates for an office exceeds three times the number to be elected to that office in no more than one-half of the offices on the ballot; and
  • the number of candidates in excess of three times the number to be elected is not more than one for any office on the ballot.

The law also states that “the election administrator may determine that a primary election for a nonpartisan county office need not be held if fewer than three candidates have filed for that office.”

Some city elections could be cancelled due to lack of candidates [2019]

The City of Great Falls operates under the commission-manager form of government and the commission serves as the city’s legislative and policy-making body. Commissioners employ the city manager who directs daily operations.

Commission meetings are held the first and third Tuesday of each month.

In 1996, a Local Government Study Commission recommended the formation of neighborhood councils in Great Falls to provide opportunities for citizen involvement in city government. The proposal was placed on the ballot and was approved. Since that time, Neighborhood Councils have operated in an advisory capacity and as liaisons to city staff, the commission and residents. Neighborhood council meetings take place monthly.

New this year is a second municipal court judge position.

The second judge position is designated as Municipal Court Department B and is subject to an initial two year term. After that, the position will have the same four year general election cycle beginning in November 2025.

Additional information about the upcoming 2023 Municipal Election is on the city’s website or contact the county elections office at 406-454-6803; or Lisa Kunz, city clerk, at 406-455-8451; or Lanni Klasner, neighborhood council liaison, at 406-455-8496.