Originally published in the 6/23/17 printed edition of the Yellowstone County News
BILLINGS — Seven candidates, including one current city councilor, hope to replace Tom Hanel as the mayor of Billings.
Several last-minute filings, meanwhile, increased competition for City Council seats.
Hanel is leaving the mayor’s office at the end of the year. He is barred from re-election by term limits.
Mayoral hopefuls include Angela Cimmino, councilor in Billings Ward 2; attorney Bill Cole; architect Randy Hafer; former legislator and Montana Republican Party Chairman Jeff Essmann; Danielle Egnew, a psychic medium, musician and actress; real estate agent Danny Sandefur; and Paul Bledsoe.
In City Council races, Ward 1 includes incumbent Mike Yakawich, who is challenged by Joshua Kostelecky and Charlie Smillie.
In Ward 2, four candidates filed for the seat vacated by Cimmino: Frank Ewalt, Roger M. Gravgaard, Tajin J. Perez and Jeff Smith.
Five candidates have filed in Ward 3, Nadja Brown, Denise Joy, Michael A. Larson, Russell Rowland and Tyler Starkweather.
Three candidates filed in Ward 4: George Blackard, RickMcIntyre and Penny Ronning. Al Swanson did not seek re-election after his first term.
In Ward 5, incumbent D. Shaun Brown will face challengers Alexander Clark, Dennis Ulvestad and Rhonda Whiteman.
Also on the ballot for the Sept. 12 primary is Municipal Judge Sheila R. Kolar, who is unopposed.