Helena mayor race goes down to runoff

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Longtime Helena Mayor Sonny Penhale will face Former Helena Police Chief Mark Hall in an Oct. 9 runoff election after neither candidate was able to gain a majority in the four-candidate mayor’s race.

Sonny Penhale

Penhale has been serving as the mayor of Helena since 1968, and previously said he did not plan to seek another term in office after 2016. Hall served as the Helena police chief from 2000-2004.

Hall

Penhale gathered 1,218 votes compared to Hall’s 1,196. The two beat fellow mayoral candidates Greg Eddins, who had 674 votes and Ed Scheirer, who had 14 votes.

“He’s ready for the challenge. He’s pleased that we are still in the game,” said Joy Childers, Penhale’s secretary. “He feels real good about it.”

Hall said he had been preparing for a runoff election.

“We will continue to share our positive message of leadership,” Hall said. “We feel like we have the most to offer to the people of Helena.”

In the Helena City Council races incumbent Councilwoman Leigh Hulsey soundly defeated George “Tad” Parker and Tangee Edwards for the Place 1 seat, gathering 2,048 votes compared to Parker’s 713 votes and Edwards’ 235.

A message left with Hulsey on election night was not immediately returned.

Mike Jones beat incumbent Councilwoman Barbara Hyche for the Place 2 seat on the City Council by a margin of 1,727 votes to 1,284 votes.

“I’m prepared to represent the citizens of Helena,” Jones said. “Everyone that was elected to the council will cooperate with each other very well.”

In the Place 3 City Council race incumbent Councilwoman Cris Nelson beat Mike McNorton by a margin of 1,568 votes to 1,430 votes.

“I am very excited that the citizens of Helena re-elected me,” Nelson said. “I am going to strive every day to make sure I represent them well.”

Candidate Leslie Bartlett edged out incumbent Councilman Jerry D. Pate by a martin of 1,776 votes to 1,171 votes.

“It feels amazing,” Bartlett said. “I’m thankful that the good Lord did what he did and put me here.”

New Place 5 Councilman “Hewy” Woodman faced no opposition in the race.