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Watkins crawls past Walker

Dahl Memorial, town levies approved by voters


Ryan OConnell

Ballot boxes were stuffed by 55.2 percent of Carter County's registered voters during Tuesday's primary.

Anyone who didn't cast a ballot missed their chance to make a difference.

Mike Watkins became the unofficial District 3 Republican nominee for Carter County Commissioner this November after defeating Bill Walker by one vote in Tuesday's primary election.

The unofficial vote count was Watkins 238, Walker 237. Fifty-five percent of Carter County's registered voters cast ballots.

Watkins told the Eagle the victory is still soaking in, but that he is waiting for the official tally before breathing easy. "I pledge on doing the best job I can for Carter County," he said.

In regards to the one vote differential Watkins said that he doesn't think there was much separation between the candidates and that he plans on getting feedback from the voters to determine what made the difference.

Carter County residents voted in favor of the Dahl Memorial Special Mill Levy which will raise $260,000 for the healthcare facility during both fiscal years 2019 and 2020. The vote total in favor of the levy was 341. One hundred fifty-eight voters opposed the levy.

The precinct of Ekalaka voted on three additional levies Tuesday night. The Town of Ekalaka Library Levy and a parks levy each passed with 73 votes for and 42 against, and the Emswiler Swimming Pool Levy also passed with 66 votes for and 49 against.

Congressman Greg Gianforte secured the Republican nomination to represent Montana in the House of Representatives. After his win, Gianforte released a statement reading, in part, "I've worked with President Trump to let Montanans keep more of what they earn, cut unnecessary red tape, increase access to our public lands and reform the VA so that our veterans receive the care they deserve. But there's still more to do to clean up Washington, and I'll keep working to bring forward solutions that put Montana first."

In Carter County, the precinct with the highest voter turnout percentage was Alzada with 61 percent of registered voters taking to the polls. Hammond and Boyes had a 59 percent turnout, rural Ekalaka had 53.6 percent and Ekalaka turned out 47.4 percent of its registered voters.

Statewide results can be found on the Montana Secretary of State website.


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