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Primary narrows list of candidates; ballot set for November election

Election officials review ballots in Missoula County. Most statewide races were conclusive early in the evening with both Democrats and Republicans selecting their preferred candidates in the primary. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current)

Turnout in the primary election in Missoula County hit a new high on Tuesday, as it did across much of the state, and with early counting in play, a number of statewide races were called after the first batch of returns were released on Tuesday night.

“Early ballot prep and the ability to count yesterday has made election day here so much smoother,” said Bradly Seaman, elections supervisor for Missoula County. “A lot of the law changes we’ve had to allow for the counting center here have worked out incredibly well for Missoula County.”

Missoula County sent out 72,000 ballots to registered voters and had received 44,000 back in the mail just before polls closed. A steady stream of traffic hit the drop-off location at the county fairgrounds minutes before closing.

While 84,600 voters are registered in Missoula County, around 10,000 of them are inactive.

“Ballot return rates have cleared 60% – that’s amazing,” Seaman said. “We’re getting a lot of ballots in and that’s going to mean our votes are much more representative of the Missoula community.”

Across Missoula County, Democratic voters far outnumbered Republicans in the primary by a margin of 24,170 to 15,080

Unofficial statewide returns as of Wednesday morning are as follows with results for the top candidates in both the Democratic and Republican parties: For the most up to date figures, follow this link to the Secretary of State’s election page.

President

Joe Biden: 113,340

Bernie Sanders: 21,965

Elizabeth Warren 11,941

Donald Trump: 199,551

Senate

Steve Bullock 144,491

Steve Daines: 192,330

House

Kathleen Williams 133,003

Tom Winter: 15,633

Matt Rosendale: 104,286

Corey Stapleton: 71,593

Governor

Mike Cooney: 81,234

Whitney Williams: 66,878

Tim Fox: 60,617

Greg Gianforte: 118,884

Al Olszewski: 42,953

Secretary of State

Bryce Bennett: 129,035

Christi Jacobsen: 57,749

Brad Johnson: 45,388

Scott Sales: 49,600

State Auditor

Shane Morigeau: 78,374

Mike Winsor: 49,064

Troy Downing: 97,053

Scott Tuxbury: 58,084

Nelly Nicol: 39,172

Attorney General

Kimberly Dudik: 59,963

Raph Graybill: 79,772

Jon Bennion: 78,161

Austin Knudsen: 116,112

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Melisa Romano: 132,350

Elsie Arntzen: 177,595

Public Service Commissioner District 4 (Missoula)

Monica Tranel: 25,882

Will Deschamps: 13,038

Jennifer Fielder: 16,662

Champ Edmunds: 7,408