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City-County building in Helena

The city-county building in Helena is seen in this file photo.

Though the sheriff and superintendent of schools are facing some competition, most of the Lewis and Clark County officials running for re-election this year are unopposed. 

Montana Highway Patrol Sgt. Jay Nelson is challenging incumbent Sheriff Leo Dutton for sheriff/coroner. Dutton is running as a Democrat and Nelson as a Republican. The county commission voted in December to consolidate the two elected positions, which has been done in dozens of other Montana counties. In addition to overseeing the county's law enforcement, the sheriff/coroner will handle cause-of-death investigations and provide death certificates. 

Reg Hageman is challenging the county's incumbent Superintendent of Schools Katrina Chaney. Chaney is running as a Republican and Hageman as a Democrat. The county superintendent of schools is in charge of financial, administrative, legal, record-keeping and transportation-supervisory services for all the schools in the county. The superintendent also makes sure all laws applicable to education are followed and acts as a liaison between state and government agencies. 

County Attorney/Public Administrator Leo Gallagher, a Democrat, is running for re-election unopposed. The county attorney is the state's prosecutor, the county's legal adviser, and the public administrator for estates of those who have died without anyone to administer their property. The person in this position also represents the state in cases of child neglect and professionals seeking to commit mentally-ill persons to facilities, and assists survivors of domestic violence or sexual crimes. The county attorney does not prosecute misdemeanors or provide legal help to private citizens. 

District 1 County Commissioner Andy Hunthausen, a Democrat, is running for re-election unopposed. County commissioners make decisions on county funding, legislative action, land use and other choices that impact the county as a whole.

County Justice of the Peace Mike Swingley is running for re-election unopposed. The nonpartisan justice of the peace is in charge of the Lewis and Clark County Justice Court. It is the judicial branch of county government responsible for all misdemeanor offenses including traffic, criminal and animal control violations, and where all felony cases are initially filed. It is also the small claims court for Lewis and Clark County. 

Treasurer/Clerk and Recorder Paulette DeHart, a Democrat, is running for re-election unopposed. The treasurer/clerk and recorder oversees accounting, clerking and recording information for the county, elections, property taxes and motor vehicle taxes and county financial books.

District Court Judges Mike Menahan and Michael McMahon are also running unopposed in their separate elections. Both positions are nonpartisan. 

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Reporter

Reporter at the Helena Independent Record.

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