Holmquist leapfrogs Fallon with addition of provisional ballots
Stickers for voters in the primary election at the Flathead County Fairgrounds in Kalispell on Tuesday, June 7. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)
| June 13, 2022 3:00 PM
In a reversal, incumbent Flathead County Commissioner Pam Holmquist surpassed challenger Jack Fallon with the addition of provisional ballots to the final tally of last week’s primary election results.
Heading into Monday’s count of 361 provisional ballots inside the Expo Building of the Flathead County Fairgrounds, Fallon held a four vote lead over Holmquist in the GOP primary, 7,405 to 7,401. By the time a small group of observers clustered around Election Officer Manager Monica Eisenzimer’s laptop for a peek at the results, the tally had changed to give Holmquist a 42 vote advantage with 7,526 votes to Fallon’s 7,484.
With no Democrat in the running for the sole open seat on the Flathead County Commission, the winner of the GOP primary is all but assured the spot following the November election.
Holmquist, who has served two terms on the commission, told the Inter Lake on Monday that she feels “thankful and humbled” to be given the opportunity to continue serving the county.
“I think the people wanted to keep me because I’ve stayed true to what I said the first time I ran 12 years ago and then when I ran again the second time,” she said. “I try to keep those promises I made.”
“I’ve been involved in the community and I think people recognize that,” she added.
Holmquist has set her political goals on protecting private property rights and taking a fiscally conservative approach to the county’s budget. In her bid for re-election this spring, Holmquist said funding a new county jail, which has for years seen overcrowding, remains her priority.
“There are some things that I’d still like to get done and those take a matter of time,” she said. “I’m glad I get to continue to work on those.”
On hand for the final tally, Fallon said he planned to ask for a recount. Under state law, a recount is possible if the margin of difference is less than half of 1% of all the votes cast in the race for a given position. If the margin of difference is between a quarter and half of 1% of all the votes cast, the candidate seeking a recount must post a bond covering the cost of the effort.
Fallon, though, did not express much optimism.
“Historically, [a recount] hasn’t shown much of a change,” he said.
Officials with the county election office plan to announce details about a recount, if the margin between Fallon and Holmquist meets the criteria, on their website flathead.mt.gov/election/. If not, details about the post election audit, which is slated for Thursday at 9 a.m., will go up instead.
The results of a recount aside, Fallon thanked his supporters for their backing.
“Whatever the outcome, I’m very thankful for everyone who voted me,” Fallon said. “I’m very appreciative and thankful.”
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