Key Endorsements Highlight 2017 Municipal Elections

Municipal elections are some of the most important elections that will occur in 2017. It is these candidates that are elected in municipal races that could one day be elected to higher office like senator or governor.

The problem with municipal elections is that many candidates do not have high name recognition and therefore voters are left grasping for straws with their ballot as they just see two names and unless personally know the candidates often have no way of knowing who stands for what policy or has what record of accomplishment.

This is where hard work in strategic campaigning and grassroots outreach is crucial in talking to voters one on one at their doors or over the phones. Another way to understand what a candidate supports can be found in the mail they send you or literature they drop at your door.

One of the best ways to distinguish candidates is endorsements. This helps as elected officials and prominent citizen’s voices add credence and legitimacy to the candidates helping them establish a rapport more quickly with their constituents.

Here are some key endorsements in municipal races in Montana this year. I’ll start with the biggest city in Montana.


Had some trouble finding information about Billings races. The biggest city in Montana often feels disconnected from the rest of the state. I bet they feel the same way about us western Montana folks. It’s past time to bridge the divide and make alliances statewide.

  • Montana Conservation Voters has endorsed Bill Cole for Mayor
  • Montana Conservation Voters has endorsed Charlie Smillie for Billings City Council Ward 1
  • Visit Charlie’s website here:
  • Montana Conservation Voters has endorsed Denise Joy for Billings City Council Ward 3
  • Visit Denise’s website here:
  • Montana Conservation Voters has endorsed Penny Ronning for Billings City Council Ward 4


Missoula Mayor John Engen has been endorsed by everyone, just kidding, his opponent hasn’t endorsed him…yet. Though Mayor Engen has proceeded to rack up nearly every crucial endorsement possible in Montana’s second largest city.

Mayor Engen has been endorsed by:

      • U.S. Senator Jon Tester & Sharla Tester
      • Governor Steve Bullock
      • Montana State Senators Dick Barrett, Tom Facey, Diane Sands and Cynthia Wolken
      • Montana State Representatives Bryce Bennett, Kim Dudik, Ellie Hill, Sue Malek, Nate McConnell, Shane Morigeau and Marilyn Ryan
      • Missoula City Council Members Marilyn Marle, Emily Bentley, Annelise Hedahl, John DiBari, Jordan Hess, Gwen Jones and Bryan Von Lossberg
      • Missoula County Commissioners Nicole Rowley and Dave Strohmaier
      • Sheriff TJ McDermott
      • Montana Conservation Voters
      • Missoula County Democrats
      • Missoula Area Labor Council
      • Missoula Education Association
      • Missoula Firefighters Local 271
      • And many more influential citizens included in the list below

Here is the complete list of endorsements that John Engen has received.

A full list of endorsements from the Montana Conservation Voters is here:

MCV Endorsed Candidates


Missoula Municipal Court Judge is a heated race this year.

Brendan McQuillan for Missoula Municipal Court Judge has been endorsed by these Missoula elected officials and notable Missoulians

  • State Senators Cynthia Wolken and Ron Erickson
  • State Representatives Ellie Hill and Nate McConnell
  • Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst
  • Missoula County Sheriff TJ McDermott
  • Missoula County Clerk Tyler Gernant
  • Regional Director for the Office of the Public Defender Jennifer Streano
  • City Councilmembers Jason Wiener, Emily Bentley,  and Annelise Hehdahl
  • Missoula County Commissioner Cola Rowley

As well as: Marie Andersen, Eldena Bear Don’t Walk, Larry Mansch, Dustin Monroe, Katie Carlson, Jess Grennan, Benjamin Darrow, Emily Likins-Ehlers, Jim Parker, Jim Taylor, Jason Marks, Cynthia Ford, Bryan Tipp, Richard R. Buley, Karen Buley, Jen Gursky, Peter F. Lacny, Robin Hamilton, Jocelyn Siler, Amanda Darrow, Dwight Schulte, Jenny Kaleczyc, Thomas C. Orr, William E. Rideg, Ashley Morigeau, Josh Morigeau, Jerry Fetz, Christopher Abbott, Shahid Haque, Colin Stephens, John S. Adams, Brooke Perkins Lainsbury, Chuck Erickson, Barbara Berens, Morgan Smith, Reid Reimers, Rob Henry, Natalie Wicklund, Angela Goodhope, Christopher Orman, Richard Raugust, Sarah Ferguson, Tobias Cook, James Lapotka, Smith and Stephens P.C. Law Office, Peter Delmoe, Ase Carlson, Britt and Jamie Cotter, Lael Gabrian, Sarah Lockwood, Molly Owen and Adam Fangsrud

In Missoula City Council races

  • Montana Conservation Voters have endorsed Bryan Von Lossberg in Ward 1
  • Montana Conservation Voters have endorsed Jordan Hess in Ward 2
  • Montana Conservation Voters have co-endorsed Heather Harp and Tom Winter in Ward 3
  • Chris Badgely in Ward 4 has been endorsed by the Montana Conservation Voters, the Missoula County Democrats and the Missoula area Central Labor Council.
  • Stacie Anderson in Ward 5 has also been endorsed by the Montana Conservation Voters


Wilmot Collins, Candidate for Helena Mayor has been endorsed by:

  • State Senator Mary Caferro
  • State Representative Kim Abbott, Representative Mary Ann Dunwell, Representative Jenny Eck, Representative Moffie Funk
  • Commissioner Andres Haladay
  • Trustee Sanjay Talwani
  • Christine Kaufmann, Bruce Nachtsheim, Rachel Carroll Rivas, Diego Rivas, Josh Manning, Alan and Nancy Nicholson, Anne Hedges, and Ken Toole

As well as: Lea Chiavaras, Rebecca Leaphart, Shahid Haque, Georgia Lovelady, Nick  Domitrovich, Jenifer Gursky, David Wilson, Michele Herrington, Mary and Ronald Guse, Phil Robison, Kathryn ComerTuss, Bill Winterburn, Jane Morell-Hart, Kurt Werner, Emily McVey, Heidi Morris, Gabriel Furshong, Ada Montague, Bethany Dicken, Joy Sue Bender, Annie Hanshew, Joanna Thamke, Brett Clark, Daine Carlson Evans, Dawnell Blood, Julia Saylor, Neal Ullman, Zabeth Harter, Sue Hawthorne, Eleanor Parker, Carissa  Spurzem, Patricia Kemp, David Antos, Rebecca Skeldon, Marylis Filipovich, Flannery Herbert, Colleen McCarthy, Kirsten Gerbatsch, Jacob Johnson, Chris Sanchez, Dorothy Thiede, Elaine Taylor, Wallace Knight, Lisa Fairman, Lee Benner, Ronald Waterman, Susan Askin, Jerry Sept, Fran Waddell, and Kelsen Young

  • Heather O’Loughlin, candidate for Helena City Commission has been endorsed by the Montana Conservation Voters and:

  • Andres Haladay, candidate for Helena City Commission, has been endorsed by the Montana Conservation Voters as well as:

    Jenny Eck, State Representative, Moffie Funk, State Representative, Janet Ellis, State Representative, Kim Abbott, State Representative, Mary Ann Dunwell, State Representative, Mary Caferro, State Senator, Christine Kaufmann, Former State Senator, Sarah Sullivan, School Trustee, Tyler Emmert, School Trustee, Luke Muszkiewicz, School Trustee, Ed Noonan, City Commissioner, Rob Farris-Olsen, City Commissioner.

Visit Justin’s website here:

I reached out to Justin for a full list of endorsements and apologize if I did not give him enough time to respond. I will update the list upon receipt of a full list of his endorsements.


Heide Arneson, candidate for Bozeman City Commission, has been endorsed by the Montana Conservation Voters, Bozeman Mayor Carson Taylor and Montanans for Sensible Government.

Terry Cunningham, candidate for Bozeman City Commission, has been endorsed by the Montana Conservation Voters, Bozeman Mayor Carson Taylor and a long list that is available here:

Matt Saporito, candidate for candidate for Bozeman City Commission, has been endorsed by the Gallatin Progressive Action Network, Montanans for Bernie, Intermountain Campaign Coalition and Our Revolution-MSU.

I reached out to Matt’s campaign for a full list of endorsements and apologize if I did not give them enough time to respond. I will update the list upon receipt of a full list of his endorsements.



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Nathan Kosted


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  • Why not show endorsements for BOTH/ALL candidates? That is the only way I would find ANY value in this post. Total waste of my time.

  • Quite stunned by the lack of complete information on endorsements of candidates. What was the purpose of this post?

  • Some additional info which I hope is helpful, Nathan:

    Last Best News did an in-depth interview of the Billings mayoral race candidates.

    Missoula County Democrats endorsed the following candidates: Ward 1, Brian von Lossberg; Ward 2, Jordan Hess and Ruth Ann Swaney (Swaney is moving to North Dakota; not sure her name will appear on the ballot); Ward 3, Jon VanDyke, Heather Harp and Thomas Winter; Ward 4, Chris Badgely; Ward 5, Stacie Anderson and Cathy Deschamps; for Mayor, John Engen. As you can see, there were some wards with multiple endorsements.

    Also, today, the Missoulian came out with an Engen endorsement.

    And McLane/M, in case you haven’t noticed, this site leans Democratic — not always but usually. If you want to see who Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, etc., are endorsing, go to one of their sites (although I’m not sure where to direct you, maybe county central committees?).

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