Stevensville Mayor Brandon Dewey survives recall, ‘dark political climate’

Stevensville Mayor Brandon Dewey narrowly survived a recall effort and looks forward to moving on for the betterment of the community. (KPAX image)

(KPAX) STEVENSVILLE — Stevensville Mayor Brandon Dewey said the recall he survived this week “sheds light on what has become a dark political climate” in the Bitterroot town.

But he’s eager to move on and start the healing. Dewey survived the recall with 52% support, the first mayor to do so in the town’s long history.

“Only two mayors out of 34 have faced recall in this community,” Dewey said. “One resigned before it even hit the ballot and then mine. And I didn’t resign and was successful in not being recalled. I think that’s an important piece of what Stevensville has been through in terms of its political turmoil over the last several decades.”

But even for Stevensville, this has been a rough year. Dewey has called the situation one of “noise, mess and doubt,” characterizing his opponents today as “a posse of detractors.”

But Dewey said he doesn’t see his victory as a reboot but instead a chance to learn from mistakes.

“I’m not interested in doing a clean slate over and over and over again,” Dewey said. “I think that we really need to take these experiences and learn from them and make that part of our history and maybe as we move forward, let’s not let history repeat itself.”

When asked what he hopes happens as a result of dealing with this particular contingent going forward, Dewey said he hopes everyone takes a step back.

“You know, I don’t have a definitive answer to that, because to a degree, those folks have been slightly unpredictable through this whole experience in terms of what lengths they’ll go to to see me removed from office.”

Dewey added, “I don’t expect them to like me overnight or to even agree with me on many things. But if we could harness that energy and put it into something positive for our neighbors and the people we have to live with after elections I think we’d be in a lot better position.”

And Dewey is pledging to move Stevensville forward on projects that have been on hold because of the recall, and the pandemic.

“We’re really hoping over the next year that we can accelerate a few initiatives and some really good work that to a degree I put on the back-burner or got kind of, you know, pushed back because of the recall and coronavirus contributed to that as well,” he said.

Dewey will be up for re-election next year and said he hasn’t decided whether to seek another term.