A formal recount of votes cast in the Great Falls City Commission race indicates that Tracy Houck has defeated Rick Tryon.
The final tally was 6,260 votes for Houck, and 6,249 votes for Tryon -- a difference of just 11 votes.
Preliminary numbers on election night showed Houck won by only 7 votes.
When final number were presented to County Commissioners last Friday, it became a 10 vote difference with 6,257 for Houck and 6,247 for Tryon.
Shortly after commissioners accepted the numbers, Tryon filed for a recount.
Cascade County Clerk and Recorder, Rina Moore explained what it takes to qualify for a recount, “Anything under .25%, a quarter of 1%, is capable of asking for a recount and he is at .08, a 10 vote separation, and so he has filed his petition and we will begin that process next Wednesday morning at 8 am.”
The recount process began on Wednesday morning, and Cascade County Commissioners released the final tally on Thursday evening at about 5:45 p.m..
Tryon requested because with such a small number of votes deciding the race he wants to be absolutely sure.
(NOVEMBER 4, 2015) Great Falls voters have elected Bob Kelly as the next mayor, and Bill Bronson will retain his seat on the City Commission -- but the race between Tracy Houck and Rick Tryon for the other open seat is down to a 7-vote margin.
Kelly defeated incumbent mayor Michael Winters.
There were four candidates for two spots on the City Commission: Bronson, Houck, Don Petrini, and Tryon.
Just after 10 p.m., the following unofficial results were released; they are subject to change:
Bob Kelly: 8,105
Michael Winters: 5,464
Bill Bronson: 7,553
Tracy Houck: 6,243
Rick Tryon: 6,236
Don Petrini: 4,639
Kelly, who currently serves as a city commissioner, said, "Got the news walking out of Commission meeting tonight that we were successful in our venture, so really encouraging, really grateful for all the people that turned out to vote that supported me, and very excited to get started the new year. Meanwhile, you know, I want to wish Mayor Winters congratulations. It was an excellent campaign. He's done a great job for the city for the last six years and I appreciate his service as well."
Houck said, "The evening started off with me being down by 70 votes and now I've been told that I'm up by seven. I'm excited. Seven is a lucky number in my family so I'll take it for that. We set out to run a great campaign. We set out to change how things work at our city commission level and I'm excited."
Bronson said, "Obviously I'm feeling great tonight, but one of things that we really thought about forward is we had a campaign plan in place in June or July. We followed that plan. We had the money available. We went out and built coalitions among a number of very disparate groups and they all came together both in the primary and tonight and I'm just incredibly pleased that they all came through in the end."
According to Cascade County Clerk & Recorder Rina Moore, Tryon has three business days after the results are canvassed to petition for a recount. If that happens, Moore says a count board has to be hired, and all the ballots counted by hand. Because of how close the race is, the county (not the candidate) would pay for the recount, and then bill the city since this was a municipal election. Moore says they hope to canvass the votes by Friday.
The City of Great Falls operates under the Commission-Manager form of government and the Commission serves as the City's legislative and policy-making body.
The City Commission employs the City Manager who directs the day-to-day operations of the City.