Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Field full of choices

Brophy’s bid for commissioner run still alive, for now

Stillwater County voters will have plenty of choices come the June Primary election.
Four of the eight elected offices are being contested. Every single candidate is running as a Republican. That means that the winners of the June Primary will be the winners at the general election.
Filing deadline closed at 5 p.m. Monday.

TREASURER
Shirlee Keffer became the most recent resident to throw her hat into the political ring when she filed for treasurer last week.
Citing a 35-year banking career in management and operations, Keffer said she is starting a new chapter in her life and wants public service to be a part of that.
Keffer chose the treasurer race because “I meet the qualifications” and “I want to serve the people of Stillwater County along with those that don’t live in our county but have properties/interest in Stillwater,” said Keffer.
She has been a member of Stillwater Republican Women since 2010, serving as president of that organization from 2010 to 2014. Keffer currently is the treasurer for that group.
Keffer is running as a Republican.
“In today’s world of politics, candidates file and state their political party when in fact they are not of that party. Keeping integrity in my party’s name is important to me,” said Keffer.
Incumbent Treasurer Jerry Friend has been in office for one 4-year term. Friend holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration with an accounting option, as well as a master’s degree in business administration. He spent 13 years working as an accountant for a privately held corporation. He has served a 2-year appointment as a county commissioner, eight years as a Reed Point School District trustee and a volunteer fireman. When he first ran for the job, Friend said he wanted to ensure the financial well being of Stillwater County. He is running as a Republican.

CONTESTED RACES
The sheriff’s race pits two veteran law enforcement officers against each other —Stillwater Undersheriff Chip Kem and Columbus Police Officer Gary Timm. Both profess a desire to keep law enforcement moving in a progressive direction.
The District 3 Commissioner seat will be decided between Molt resident Al Nordahl, Rapelje resident Erv Hossfeld and Park City resident Ty Hamilton. Current Sheriff Cliff Brophy may also be added to that list (see below).
The final contested race is for 22nd Judicial District Judge, being battled out between Hardin attorney Matt Wald and Red Lodge attorney Ray Kuntz.

UNCONTESTEd RACES
Running uncontested are Stillwater County Attorney Nancy Rohde, Justice of the Peace Lee Cornell, and Clerk & Recorder Heidi Stadel. John Smith was the only candidate to file for Stillwater County Superintendent of Schools. That part-time position is being vacated by Judy Martin. Smith is a long-time Columbus High School teacher and coach who is retiring at the end of the year.
Ballots will be sent to the military and overseas personnel on or before April 20. Depending on Brophy’s lawsuit, regular absentee ballots will be sent out May 11.

BROPHY'S BID FOR COMMISSIONER RUN STILL ALIVE - FOR NOW
Stillwater County Sheriff Cliff Brophy’s bid to run for commissioner is still alive, thanks to a stipulation among all the parties involved.
According to Ray Kuntz, Brophy’s attorney, the Attorney General (AG), the Secretary of State and the election administrator have agreed to a stipulated order that in essence, extends the March 12 filing deadline for Brophy
If the pending lawsuit Brophy has before District Judge Randal Spaulding goes his way, he will be allowed to file to run for District 3 Commissioner.
It also allows Brophy to begin campaigning immediately. On Wednesday morning, Brophy said he wasn’t doing anything until he sees the stipulated document signed by a judge.
“I am going to wait for the court order. I don’t want to take a chance on violating any laws or rules obviously. Once the court order is issued, then my attorney and I can see what I am authorized to do and not do in the way of filing and campaigning,” said Brophy.
As of Wednesday morning, Spaulding had not signed off on the stipulated agreement between all the parties involved.
In Brophy’s lawsuit, he is asking Spaulding to declare the 2-year residency requirement for a candidate running for commissioner as unconstitutional. Brophy only recently moved to Park City, which falls in District 3.
The AG’s office filed a motion in January notifying Brophy it planned on fighting his motion.

BACKGROUND
In the lawsuit, Brophy announced he intends to retire from law enforcement when his current term expires in 2018 and run for the District 3 county commission seat in the 2018 June primary election.
That district is currently represented by Commissioner Maureen Davey, who is not seeking re-election.
Brophy’s argument against the law is that other elected offices, such as state legislators and city council candidates, have “much less restrictive durational residency requirements,” according to court documents.
For example, the residency requirement for state legislators is one year, and just six months prior to the general election if the county contains two or more districts, according to the suit. City council candidates are subject to a 60-day duration residential requirement.
Those differing requirements are disproportionate and therefore “unconstitutional on its face,” according to court documents.
Brophy also argues that his 37 years with the sheriff’s office and the fact that he has been elected seven times is evidence of his serious commitment to the community.