Sharbono, Irigoin win county races

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Jamie Ausk Crisafulli photo

Dawson County election workers CD Smart and Pat Mischel review the voting machine audit report shortly after the polls closed at the EPEC Tuesday night.

Brett Irigoin won the Dawson County Attorney race

Joe Sharbono won the race for Dawson County Commissioner

Jamie Ausk Crisafulli photo

Eighteen-year-old Samantha Beeler votes for the first time Tuesday. Beeler was able to register and vote at the Dawson County Clerk and Recorders office on primary election day.

Voters took to the polls Tuesday for the 2018 primary election, which most likely settled two contested races at the local level.

In a threeway race for Dawson County Commissioner, Joe Sharbono was the clear winner, earning 63 percent of the votes. Doug Byron earned 29 percent of the votes and Harold Skartved 9 percent. With no Democrat in the race, Sharbono will likely be the next commissioner, replacing Doug Buxbaum who chose not to run for re-election.

In what was a very contentious race on the Republican ticket for county attorney, incumbent Brett Irigoin came out on top with 1,469 votes, or 69 percent. His opponent Charity McLarty received 651 votes.

Democrats have time to come up with candidates to put on the ballot in November for both county races, according to Dawson County elections administrator Shirley Kreiman.

Voter turnout in Dawson County was 45 percent, with 2,581 ballots cast out of 5,773 registered voters in the county. This was slightly less than the 2016 primary election, a presidential election year, in which 52 percent of Dawson County registered voters cast a ballot.

Statewide voter turnout was 41 percent on Tuesday.

The local voter turnout was overwhelmingly Republican, with 2,210 GOP ballots cast compared to 369 Democratic ballots. Two Dawson County voters cast Green Party ballots.

The Republican race for U.S. Senate remained close throughout most of the evening, but Matt Rosendale, the current state auditor from Dawson County, was deemed the winner with 34 percent of the statewide vote. Rosendale won the Dawson County vote handily, earning 53 percent of the vote in the four-way race, compared to his closest opponent’s Russ Fagg’s 29 percent. Rosendale will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, who is seeking his third term.

Kathleen Williams won the Deomcratic primary in the race for Montana’s U.S. House seat, narrowly defeating her closest opponent John Heenan in the six-way race. She will face Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte in November’s general election. Williams also received the majority of Democratic votes in Dawson County with 134 compared to Heenan’s 102.

In the uncontested House District 36 Republican primary, incumbent Rep. Alan Doane received 1,815 of the 2,210 Republican votes cast in Dawson County. There was no Democratic challenger in the HD36 race, so Doane will likely retain his seat. However, the local Democratic party committee could still nominate someone to stand in the November election or choose to back a write-in candidate.

Randy Pinocci was the successful candidate for the Republican Public Service District 1 race and will face Democrat Doug Kaercher in the general election.

In Dawson County, the justice of the peace race, which is nonpartisan, will be on the ballot in November. City Court Judge Kerry Burman and Justice Court clerk Stacey Nerison are candidates for the position. Justice of the Peace Ed Williamson has chosen not to file for reelection.

Election snafu

Tuesday’s election in Dawson County did have at least one snafu, with the ballot delivery to the Richey Senior Center arriving late.

Richey’s Precinct No. 5 is the only county precinct that does not vote at the EPEC.

Voting in Richey was set to begin at noon, however, it was discovered that the individual who was lined up to transport the ballots forgot to take them, and “We forgot to remind him,” county deputy elections adminstrator Leanne Cantrell said Tuesday night.

As soon as it was discovered that the ballots were not in Richey, before the polls were set to open, election officials made arrangements to get them to the polling place. As a result of what the election officials are deeming a “miscommunication” voting in Richey started 10 minutes late, at 12:10 p.m.

Of the 143 Precinct 5 voters who cast ballots in the primary election, 66 voted at the polling site in Richey Tuesday.

“This was in no way an intentional slight against the electors of Precinct 5 but simply human error and a miscommunication between our office and the transportation that we had lined up,” according to a statement released by Dawson County election officials. “We are sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused.”

Complete county election results, including precinct details, can be found at Statewide voting results can be found at .

The general election will take place Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Reach Jamie Ausk Crisafulli at