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County Candidates Advance During Primary

Roosevelt County voters narrowed the field of candidates to two candidates in a pair of elections during the primary held on Tuesday, June 4.

Advancing to the general election in the county attorney race were current deputy county attorney Thomas Bleicher with 560 votes and former county attorney Ralph “Jim” Patch with 465 votes. Current county attorney Theresa Diekhans received 359 votes.

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.

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. 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.

The top two candidates in the commissioner district 2 race were Douglas Marottek with 233 votes and Dean Mahlum with 151 votes. They will square off in the general election. Daniel Sietsema received 61 votes.

Mahlum was the first candidate who filed for the position. His experience includes one term as the Roosevelt County sheriff and about 50 years in law enforcement. He has been on the Wolf Point City Council during the last four years.

Marottek of Poplar has been involved in community events including organizing fish tournaments and being on the Poplar School Board. He currently is an oilfield worker and works as manager of the Buckhorn Bar and Cafe.

The election attracted 1,567 of Roosevelt County’s 5,340 registered voters. Voter turnout was 29.34 percent. Roosevelt County voters approved a public safety special mill levy by a margin of 972-439. Voters also approved a road fund special mill levy by a margin of 411-272.

County voters decided against a local government review by a 736-625 margin.

Wolf Point voters decided against a local government review by a 193-148 margin.

Poplar’s voters supported a local government review by a 49-24 margin. Local government reviews were also approved in Culbertson, 105-101, and Bainville, 23-19. Froid’s voters decided against a government review by a 3517 margin.

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