Stevensville will have a new mayor on January 1. Steve Gibson defeated incumbent Brandon Dewey by a wide margin, 394 to 267. Dewey’s tenure has been controversial and Gibson ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility, greater public participation, and greater adherence to the roles and responsibilities of mayor and town council as set by Montana code.
“I want to assure people that even if they voted for my opponent, I pledge to represent all the citizens of Stevensville,” said Gibson after the election.
“I just want to thank everybody for their support. I look forward to working with the council for the people of Stevensville.”
“I’m certainly disappointed in the decision that the community made,” said Dewey. “I’ll certainly respect their decision. That’s how elections work. Just because I’m not involved politically in the leadership of the town of Stevensville, I contributed in many different ways prior to being the mayor, and I’ll continue to do that. While I’d like to hope that there’s a future of peace for the politics of our community, I have my doubts that that will ever occur. I’d like to be an optimist but it’s unlikely that we’ll have harmony on the town council and accomplish things at the same time. We can’t seem to get harmony and progress at the same time. That dates back decades.
“Things went really well for us once we could build some cohesion on the town council,” added Dewey. “When they disagreed, they could agree to disagree. There was harmony between mayor and council within the last six months. There wasn’t the drama and the political plays that you could see previously.”
Dewey said he has no special plans for future. “Going in I had come to peace with whatever the outcome would be. Being mayor wasn’t the be all end all for me. This was a step in my career. What I do next, I don’t know. I can go on and do something else, my opponents have a hard time
doing that. I’m okay doing something else.”
“We’re going to continue to do the things that we set out to do during the next 60 days and make the transition as smooth as possible,” said Dewey. “My greatest fear is that this will have greater ramifications within town government as some of our people have said they might leave.”
In the Stevensville town council race, Stacie Barker defeated incumbent Paul Ludington by a very slim margin, 165 to 157, for a Ward 1 position. In Ward 2, sitting council member Sydney Allen defeated Bob Michalson, 207 to 108. Cindy Brown, who ran unopposed, received 218 votes.
In Hamilton, incumbent Mayor Dominic Farrenkopf, who ran unopposed, received 1028 votes. Councilperson Kristi Bielski retained her Ward 1 seat, defeating Dean M. Knudsen, 261 to 223. In Ward 2, Rod Pogachar also retained his seat, beating out Kathy Dexter, 192 to 143. Darwin Ernst bested Kenneth E. Allen in a very tight race, 168 to 162. Hamilton Judge Ryan P. Archibald received 869 votes for City Judge.
In Darby, incumbent Mayor Ruth Lendrum, who ran unopposed, received 110 voted. No candidates were on the ballot for open seats in Ward 1 and Ward 2.