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Top Two Attorney Candidates In Primary Will Appear On November Ballots

Roosevelt County residents will have the choice between a former county attorney, the current county attorney and the current deputy county attorney during the primary election for county attorney.

The two vote-getters in the primary will face off in the November general election.

Ralph J. “Jim” Patch served as Roosevelt County Attorney for 21 years including eight at a full-time status. He was re-elected as the county’s full-time attorney twice.

After graduating from Poplar High School, Patch went on to earn a degree at Seattle University. He also studied at St. Thomas Seminary, Carroll College and the U.S. Army’s Defense Language Institute. He received his law degree from Gonzaga University in 1980.

After graduating from Gonzaga, he worked at a private practice in Wolf Point for a year or so and then started his own private practice in the early 1980s. His experience also includes serving as Poplar’s city attorney and on the tribal appellate court.

Patch said he decided to run for the position because of a concern about the current drug problem and that he is anxious to work with all departments. He noted that one of the county attorney’s duties is representing commissioners so they are aware of laws.

Theresa Diekhans has served as the county’s attorney since being appointed by commissioners in February.

She is no stranger to northeastern Montana. During 1995-2000, she managed two restaurants/casinos in Glasgow for family members. She also isn’t a stranger to the rural lifestyle since she grew up in the Great Falls area and her father was a farmer.

Diekhans earned her law degree from Gonzaga University. After first working in private practice in Great Falls, she served in the Cascade County Attorney’s office. She worked for the child protection unit of the Montana Attorney General’s office from 2010-2014. She went on to work for the office of public defenders including leading the office in Havre in 2019. She then accepted the roles as the Lewistown City Attorney and Fergus County Deputy Attorney.

Thomas Bleicher has served as Roosevelt County’s Deputy Attorney since the beginning of 2003. He has remained in the office despite challenging times for the county including the removal of former county attorney Frank Piocos and the county’s court battles with former county attorney Janet Christoffersen.

Bleicher came to Montana after graduating from the University of Wyoming’s law school in May 2022. His experience includes attending the Marine Officer Candidates School. “During my time as deputy, I have cultivated a working relationship with law enforcement that allows me to ensure that there is a fair and just consequence for every criminal act,” Bleicher said. “Being a proud homeowner and landowner in Roosevelt County, I would like to continue to effectively serve the community and continue the positive working relationship I have with law enforcement in the elected position of county attorney.”

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