HELENA — At 8 a.m. Thursday, candidates around Montana began officially filing to run in this year’s elections. That included those entering races for Lewis and Clark County offices.
This year, Lewis and Clark County Elections is taking filings for three county positions:
· A seat on the Lewis and Clark County Commission, representing District 2. Incumbent Susan Good Geise is not seeking another term.
· A newly created second justice of the peace position. The county is adding another justice court to address a rising caseload.
· The county’s clerk of district court.
The first candidate to file Thursday – just after the office opened – was Mark Piskolich, who is running for justice of the peace. Piskolich, who recently retired after 20 years as a federal probation officer, said he is his first time running for political office. He said he wants to continue serving the public in the legal system.
“They need to have a level playing field; they need to be treated equally, fairly and with dignity and respect,” he said. “I value all those concepts having come from the court system, and I intend to implement them at the court if I have the opportunity.”
In the afternoon, incumbent district court clerk Angie Sparks filed to run for a second term in office. Sparks was first elected in 2016.
This year will be the first time all Lewis and Clark County officers will be elected without party labels. Last year, county voters approved a switch to nonpartisan elections.
All candidates are now filing for a single primary in June. If more than two candidates run for any position, the top two finishers in the primary will move on to the general election.
If only one or two candidates file for a race, state law says county leaders can decide not to hold a primary. However, county treasurer-clerk and recorder Paulette DeHart, the county’s election administrator, said they will likely keep all three county offices on the June ballot regardless of how many people file.
You can find more information about the open county offices and filing requirements for candidates at the county’s website.