BILLINGS – Twenty-one candidates are vying for a chance to fill five soon-to-be vacant Billings City Council seats in 2019.
The deadline closed Monday for those hoping to get their name on the ballot this year.
Current Ward 2 representative Roy Neese is the only incumbent seeking re-election this year.
There are new and familiar faces running in 2019. Among the familiar – former Yellowstone County Commissioner candidate and former Billings City Councliman Jim Ronquillo.
Daron Olson, Rimrock Mall marketing director, is running to represent Ward 4.
And Jennifer Merecki, a former Montana Senate hopeful, is running in Ward 5.
Billings Mayor Bill Cole said he thinks the large turnout is due to high interest in issues before the Council.
“I think so many people are running because there are a lot of exciting things going on in Billings right now,” Cole said. “For example, the West End water treatment plant and reservoir, and One Big Sky (District). I think there are some good candidates that are really interested in serving the Billings community.”
List of candidates by ward.
Ward 1: Kendra Shaw, John S. Armstrong, Jim Ronquillo.
Ward 2: Roy Neese (Incumbent), Michael Richardson, Randy Heinz, Roger Gravgaard.
Ward 3: Danny Choriki, Matthew S. Melvin, Aldo. A Rowe.
Ward 4: Pam Purinton, Daron Olson, Gordon Olson, Carmelita Dominguez Nicole Gallagher, Matthew J. Senn.
Ward 5: Dennis L. Ulvestad, Leilahni Kay, Mike Boyett, Jennifer, Merecki, Frederick J. Wilburn.
The primary election will be held Sept. 10 to winnow each race to the top two candidates from each ward.
The general election will be held Nov. 5.