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Candidates backed by teachers union pull ahead in 3 Billings trustee races

Billings school bond fails
Billings public schools resuming alternative bus routes for weather
Posted at 8:46 PM, May 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 08:27:18-04

Update 9:35 p.m. Tuesday

Three candidates backed by the Billings teachers' union maintained their lead in the trustee race after the final Election Day tally was released Tuesday, and one race is razor thin.

Incumbent Zach Terakedis leads challenger Chad Nelson 48 percent to 46 percent. Another incumbent, Scott McCulloch, leads challenger Kristen Gilfeather by one percentage point, 44 percent to 43 percent.

In a race to replace retiring board Chair Greta Besch Moen, Teresa Larsen leads Shannon Johnson, 48 percent to 46 percent.

In the fourth race, challenger John VonLangen held a narrow two-vote margin over incumbent Brian Yates. Both had about 45 percent of the vote.

Terakedis, McCulloch, Larsen and Yates were all endorsed by the Billings Education Association, the district's largest teachers union.

Nelson, Gilfeather, Johnson and VonLangen are all backed by Make Masking Optional, a community group organized to protest mask mandates.

All results are unofficial.

The four races for Billings school trustee were all close with the first release of vote tallies Tuesday night.

In addition, Billings voters are failing a $1.5 million levy that would fund an expansion and modernization of the career technical education space at Billings Senior High School. The first count was 63 percent against and 36 percent for.

Three candidates backed by the teachers union- incumbents Zach Terakedis and Scott McCulloch and newcomer Teresa Larsen- all were leading after the first count, though none received more than 50 percent of the vote.

Another incumbent who was also endorsed by the union, Brian Yates, trailed by around 20 votes to John VonLangen.

VonLangen, Shannon Johnson, Chad Nelson and Kristen Gilfeather were all endorsed by Make Masking Optional, a community group organized to protest mask mandates.

Here’s the unofficial results:

Position 3
Shannon Johnson 2,314
Teresa Larsen 2,393
write-in 55

Position 4
Chad Nelson 1,541
Zach Terakedis, incumbent 1,627
write-in 42

Position 5
Kristin Gilfeather 1,817
Scott McCulloch, incumbent 1,860
Kayla Ladson 293
write-in 33

Position 7
John VonLangen 2,568
Brian Yates 2,566
write-in 71

Click here for updated results of all races in Yellowstone County.