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Challenger Morse leading Pitman in race for Yellowstone County commissioner

Race could swing MetraPark management future
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Posted at 9:50 PM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 08:44:42-04

Challenger Mark Morse is leading incumbent Yellowstone County Commissioner Denis Pitman in early returns of the primary election Tuesday night.

After the first count, Morse was leading 54 percent to 46 percent over Pitman, who is seeking his second term.

Morse had 12,712 votes to Pitman's 10,753.

The winner will take office at the start of the next year because no Democrats filed for the position on the three-member board of commissioners.

The race could be especially crucial for the fate of MetraPark management. Pitman has been in favor of turning the entertainment complex over to a private firm while Morse said Tuesday night that he would vote to table the discussion.

"We heard from Yellowstone County Chief Financial Officer Kevan Bryan, and he said there's no value in it for the county," Morse said. "He thought it would be best to table it for three years and get things stabilized. And that sounds like pretty good advice.

"I think if you're head financial guy says he doesn't think it's a good move, that raises a lot of questions in my mind."

Current commissioner John Ostlund has also opposed MetraPark privatization, while commissioner Don Jones has been seen as the swing vote. Now, Morse and Ostlund look like two-man majority.

"I think I align way closer with commissioner Ostlund than I do with the other two commissioners," Morse said.

Click here for the latest results.