Longtime Yellowstone County Justice of the Peace Pedro Hernandez and challenger Michael Mayott are the top two contenders for the judge position in Department 2, with Hernandez taking a commanding lead.
Hernandez, the incumbent, received 22,043 votes or 70.68 percent in unofficial final county returns. Mayott, a retired IRS agent, received 5,906 votes or 18.94 percent.
The position is nonpartisan.
A third challenger, Steven Feuertein, a Billings police officer, trailed with 3,198 votes or 10.25 percent.
The four-year term job pays $63,165 a year.
Although Hernandez said in 2010 he would retire at the end of his term in 2014, he changed his mind and filed again.
He said he enjoys the job and thinks the community has faith in him. Hernandez began his 40th year on the job this year. His wife is Auditor Debby Hernandez, who also is seeking re-election after having said she would retire.
In the race for Justice of the Peace in Department 1, both candidates will advance to the general election.
Justice of the Peace David Carter, a former deputy county attorney, received 18,414 votes or 67.42 percent. Carter was appointed by commissioners last year to replace Judge Larry Herman, who retired.
Carter’s opponent, Dave Valdez, who works at a local refinery, received 8,752 votes or 32.04 percent.