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News & Press: State Bar News

Virtual dead heat in Yellowstone County District Court judge race

Wednesday, November 7, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joe Menden
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Collette Davies won one of the two new Yellowstone County District Court judge positions. It could be a while before the winner of the district’s other new judge positions is known, however.

Davies, 48, a partner at Bishop, Heenan & Davies in Billings, defeated Thomas Pardy, Billings’ deputy city attorney, by a 57 percent to 43 percent margin in the race for the 13th Judicial District’s Department 7 judge. Davies and Pardy were the top two candidates among five in the primary elections.

Meanwhile, with all precincts fully counted, Juli M. Pierce and Ashley Harada were in a virtual dead heat for the district’s Department 8 judge position. With 57,565 votes counted, 59 votes separated the two as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

The two Yellowstone County were among six contested judicial campaigns across Montana Tuesday. In two of those races, sitting District Court judges staved off challenges.

The Honorable Kim Christopher, 58, won a fourth term as 20th Judicial District judge, defeating challenger Ashley Morigeau, a criminal defense attorney in Polson. Christopher won 65 percent of the vote in the district, which covers Lake County. Christopher was first elected in 2000 after serving two terms as Lake County attorney.

The Honorable Yvonne Laird of Malta, meanwhile, beat challenger Peter Helland, a solo attorney in Glasgow, in the 17th Judicial District judge race. The district covers Blaine, Phillips and Valley Counties.

In other district court judge races:

         Robert J. Whelan defeated Samm Cox for 2nd Judicial District judge in Butte-Silver Bow County. Whelan, 51, is a solo practitioner in Butte with experience in criminal law and civil litigation. Cox is a longtime Butte-Silver Bow County prosecutor. Whelan, whose father, John J. Whelan was a 2nd Judicial District judge, will replace the Honorable Bradley Newman who announced earlier this year thathe is stepping down at the end of the year.

         Matthew J. Wald defeated Raymond G. Kuntz in a 22nd Judicial District judge race. Wald will replace the retiring Honorabe Blair Jones in the district covering Big Horn, Carbon, and Stillwater Counties.

The following judges were unopposed in their re-election campaigns:

Mike Menahan, Helena; Michael F. McMahon, Helena; Kurt Krueger, Butte; Ray J. Dayton, Anaconda; Leslie Halligan, Missoula; Robert "Dusty" Deschamps, Missoula; John W Larson, Missoula; Luke Michael Berger, Dillon; Brenda R. Gilbert, Livingston; Olivia Rieger, Glendive; Greg Pinski, Great Falls; Elizabeth A. Best, Great Falls; John A. Kutzman, Great Falls; John W. Parker, Great Falls; Robert G. Olson, Shelby; Jon A. Oldenburg, Lewistown; Amy Eddy, Kalispell; Robert B. Allison, Kalispell; Heidi J. Ulbricht, Kalispell; Daniel A. Boucher*, Havre; Jessica T. Fehr, Billings; Donald L. Harris, Billings; Michael G Moses, Billings; Randal I. Spaulding, Roundup; David J. Cybulski, Plentywood; Michael Hayworth, Miles City; Nickolas C. Murnion, Forsyth; Holly Brown, Bozeman; Rienne H. McElyea, Bozeman; John C Brown, Bozeman.