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Gabriel, Nunnally returned to Kalispell City Council in special election

Daily Inter Lake | May 8, 2024 12:00 PM

Six months after a ballot mishap left the outcomes of two Kalispell City Council races in doubt, incumbents Kari Gabriel and Sam Nunnally secured their reelection bids during Tuesday’s special election.

Gabriel, who represents Ward 1, topped challenger Wes Walker 654-541, according to unofficial results tallied by the Flathead County Election Department. Nunnally beat rival Gabriel Dillon 736-572 to again represent Ward 2. 

Gabriel and Nunnally both won reelection during the November mail-in municipal election, but officials learned shortly before Election Day that a clerical error by the county Election Department meant more than 1,400 voters received the wrong ballot. 

The error occurred after ward boundary changes made in 2021 failed to make it into the county’s election software. The county oversees municipal elections in Kalispell.

After Debbie Pierson, county election administrator, pushed to see the election done over, a Flathead County District Court judge annulled the elections for wards 1 and 2. Though there were two other seats up for election, not enough erroneous ballots were distributed in Ward 3 to change the outcome. In Ward 4, Sid Daoud ran unopposed.

Gabriel and Nunnally stepped aside in February following the judge’s ruling. Council reappointed the pair to their seats in March pending the outcome of the May 7 special election. 

News Editor Derrick Perkins can be reached at 758-4430 or