BILLINGS — Update 8:33 p.m. The final election night results are in. Purinton expanded her lead over Dominguez, 4,140 to 4,005, to win the race.
Q2 News caught up with Purinton at her watch party at the Hilands Golf Club in Billings to get her reaction to the initial results.
"Excitement for Ward 4, which I think is just awesome that I pulled out ahead and kept that lead. Carmelita ran a good race," Purinton said.
Purinton said she was disappointed that the nonpartisan City Council race turned the opposite, after outside groups started making endorsements during the general election.
"There were a lot of outside interests that were going, ‘what skin do you have in this game?' So, that was probably the most disappointing part of this race, is that it is supposed to be a nonpartisan race," Purinton said. "And that was exactly what we tried to keep it in my campaign. But when you have these really liberal, outside groups and they have certain policies that they want enacted, you have to wonder, how nonpartisan is it?"
Purinton believes the outside groups made her and Dominguez ride the party line more than either of the candidates would have liked.
"I don't think it purposefully did, but I think it set Carmilita and I, it set up both of us," Purinton said. "She had to defend her position, I had to defend my position, and that was not what either one of us wanted out of this. We wanted to state what we were about, what we wanted to do for the city of Billings in the position that we wanted to take on the council."
Purinton said she's been attending Billings City Council meetings in the run up to the election to get a better sense of how the body operates. Purinton said she hopes to bring fiscal conservatism to the council.
"I think it sets the tone for a conservative message," Purinton said. “It means that you want to fiscally look at how dollars are spent. Are they used efficiently? Are they used most effectively? Right now going with the public safety needs, we really need to drill down on some of that stuff.”
Billings is short to the tune of $2 million in its 2020 budget for the public safety and general funds. Purinton and the other four new council members will be involved in building a solution to the budget shortfall.
Pam Purinton leads Carmelita Dominguez 4,054-3,896 in the hotly contested and expensive Billings City Council Ward 4 race after the first round of results were released Tuesday night.
The race drew attention from groups like the Montana GOP, Montana Conservation Voters group, the Billings Chamber of Commerce and the Billings Association of Realtors.
Ward 4 stretches the area under the Rimrocks from North 27th Street, westward to the Ironwood subdivision.
Both candidates raised about $17,000 combined this year.
And you could sure tell with the amount of campaign signs littering Rimrock Road.
Purinton was waiting for election results at the Highlands Golf Club, while Dominguez and her camp met at the Pub Station.
Click here for the full updated results from the Yellowstone County elections office for Laurel and Billings.
John Armstrong 1,270
Kendra Shaw 1,797
Randy Heinz 1,410
Roy Neese (i) 2,420
Danny Choriki 2,532
Aldo Rowe 2,008
Carmelita Dominguez 3,896
Pamela Purinton 4,054
Mike Boyett 3,644
Dennis Ulvestad 993