Long, Selph lead in race for Yellowstone County treasurer

2014-06-03T21:30:00Z 2014-06-04T00:35:04Z Long, Selph lead in race for Yellowstone County treasurerBy CLAIR JOHNSON cjohnson@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Sherry Long edged out William Selph and two others in a four-way primary battle on the Republican ticket for Yellowstone County treasurer/assessor/superintendent of schools.

Long, a current employee in the office, was the leader with 6,427 votes or 32.63 percent, while Selph, former finance director for former Rep. Denny Rehberg, had 6,211 votes, or 31.54 percent, in unofficial final county returns Tuesday.

The two other Republican candidates are Marci Shafer, who also works in the county office, who received 4,164 votes or 21.14 percent, and Richard W. Nixon, a retired levy officer, who received 2,819 votes or 14.31 percent.

The winner of the Republican race will face Patty Driscoll, a Democrat, who received 9,230 votes or 99.12 percent, in the Nov. 4 general election.

Driscoll, a certified public accountant with KC and Company, a Billings accounting firm, ran unopposed.

Driscoll and the Republican candidates are running to replace Max Lenington, a longtime county official who is retiring from the combined positions. Lenington has drawn criticism in recent months for making numerous racially-charged comments. He also rejected a request for his resignation from the county commissioners for using his work email account to send a message containing a racial slur.

The four-year position pays $63,165 a year.

In the race for county auditor, incumbent Debby Hernandez, a Republican, beat challenger Rebecca Rhodes West with 9,989 votes or 51.15 percent in unofficial final results.

West, who works in the county’s Human Resources Department as a payroll technician, received 9,479 votes or 48.54 percent.

No Democrats filed for the office, which pays $63,165 a year.

Hernandez, who said in 2010 she would retire at the end of her term this year, changed her mind and filed or re-election. She has worked for the county for 33 years and is married to Justice of the Peace Pedro Hernandez, who also is seeking re-election after having said he would retire.

In other county races, Jim Ronquillo, a former Billings city councilman, beat his opponent, Darryl S. Wilson, who owns a real estate company, with 6,344 votes, or 64.24 percent. Wilson received 3,475 votes, or 35.19 percent.

The winner of the Democratic ticket will face incumbent Commissioner John Ostlund, a Republican, in the general election. Ostlund, who ran unopposed, received 19,114 votes, or 98.62 percent.

The commissioner job pays $63,165 a year.

In uncontested county races, Clerk and Recorder Jeff Martin, a Republican, received 18,402 votes, or 99.45 percent; County Attorney Scott Twito, a Republican, received 19,511 votes, or 99.34 percent; and Sheriff Mike Linder, a Republican, received 19,518 votes, or 98.93 percent.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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