It’s Triepke vs. Engen as Schroeder withdraws from race to serve Missoula as mayor

Lisa Triepke, left, is now the only candidate challenging incumbent Missoula Mayor John Engen, right, for the job.

One of two challengers looking to unseat Missoula’s incumbent mayor in this year’s election withdrew from the race on Monday and will place her support behind the remaining challenger.

Madison Schroeder, who filed to run against Mayor John Engen on June 14, announced her decision to withdraw from the race through a public relations firm.

Schroeder elaborated on her decision later in the day, saying she would support Lisa Triepke’s campaign for the city’s highest office.

“In this whole process, I learned so much I wasn’t expecting to,” Schroeder said. “Part of that was how similar (Triepke) and I were on a lot of issues. I feel like this is an important time for Missoula to make a change. It would be better for me to swallow my pride and be a team player to facilitate that change.”

Triepke, who entered the race on April 20, has based her own campaign largely on taxes, contending they’re too high and that city leaders have practiced wasteful spending.

Triepke has also taken aim at the city’s takeover of Mountain Water Co., the new pedestrian bridge spanning South Reserve Street, and the city’s purchase of Eco Kompost, saying such deals were made behind closed doors and without voter input.

Schroeder said she knew little about Triepke when she first entered the race. However, she said, the two have since talked, and Schroeder said their political views are nearly aligned.

“Initially, it was just (Engen) and (Triepke), and that’s why I filed,” said Schroeder. “I didn’t know anything about (Triepke) really. Her voice has been louder than mine, so maybe the message can be shared and sent out, and people can be informed of what her vision is. The thing to do right now is be a team player.”

Schroeder said she grew up in Missoula and has seen friends and younger residents move away due to the price of housing and low-paying wages. She herself can’t afford to buy a home, she said, though she has worked hard.

Because of that, she said, it is time for the city to make a change.

“Had I been less impressed with (Triepke), I would not have made this decision at all,” said Schroeder. “I had zero intention of stepping away. It was an emotional thing for me. I feel it’s important for Missoula to make a change.”

Schroeder said she reached her decision to withdraw from the race on her own.

“The closing date to withdraw from the ballot was today,” Schroeder said. “I just had a thoughtful, quiet moment with myself. I was thinking hard about how much I care for Missoula, and her (Triepke) opportunity to be elected might be higher than mine right now. That’s honestly why I chose to remove myself from the race.”