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Incumbent Hamilton Mayor Jerry Steele holds onto his seat

By Kevin Maki, KECI Reporter, kmaki@keci.com
Published On: Nov 06 2013 09:55:50 AM MST

In unofficial results, Jerry Steele narrowly defeated his challenger Kathleen Driscoll by 27 votes.

HAMILTON, Mont. -

Ravalli County had a sizable turnout for an off year election.

Unofficial results show the two incumbent mayors running in Ravalli County kept their seats.

Stevensville, Mayor Gene Mim Mack beat challenger Clayton Floyd by 22 votes.

In Hamilton, Jerry Steele kept his seat against challenger Kathleen Driscoll by 27 votes.

Unofficial results  came in soon after the  polls closed.

But elections workers started counting about 1,900 ballots late in the afternoon.

"The mayor races have a huge effect on the turnout," said clerk and recorder, Regina Plettenberg.

NBC Montana was in Hamilton and was granted interviews by both Steele and Driscoll.

Steele said he's ready to tackle another round in this part time job, which often demands full time hours.

"Anytime you go to the polls you never know what the votes are going to do," said Steele. "I'm happy that the voters decided I was worth a second term."

Driscoll, a former county commissioner, said it's time to take a break from politics.

"There were enough people who wanted me to run that they deserved that respect, said Driscoll, "that they thought enough of me to ask me, and so it's now time for me to relax."

Turnout in Hamilton was about 42%. In Florence, it was at least 56%.

Florence voters soundly voted to dissolve a water and sewer district, formed several years ago. That project never did get off the ground.

Stevensville may have set a record for an off year, with about 55% of eligible voters coming out.