Lake County sheriff, attorney, 1 commissioner likely to be decided in primary

2014-03-11T18:45:00Z 2014-08-04T19:09:24Z Lake County sheriff, attorney, 1 commissioner likely to be decided in primaryBy VINCE DEVLIN of the Missoulian

POLSON – The June 3 primary election, and not the Nov. 4 general election, will likely determine Lake County’s new sheriff, and select its county attorney and one of its commissioners.

Multiple Republicans have filed for all three jobs, including two incumbents.

The only Democrat running for county office, Clerk and Recorder Paula Holle, is unopposed.

The sheriff’s race is the most crowded, with four Republicans – including one who ran for the job as a Democrat four years ago. Current Sheriff Jay Doyle, elected in 2010, did not file for re-election.

The candidates are Undersheriff Dan Yonkin, Lake County Sheriff’s Detective Kim Leibenguth, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Police Officer Donald Ray Bell and Polson Police Officer Rick Schoening.

Yonkin, running as a Democrat, finished third in a three-way race for sheriff in 2010 before being appointed undersheriff by Doyle after Doyle won. Schoening finished second in an unusual 12-way race for Lake County Justice of the Peace in 2012.

Incumbent County Attorney Mitch Young faces a primary challenge from Steve Eschenbacher, managing attorney of the Polson Public Defender’s Office.

Another incumbent, County Commissioner Bill Barron, will square off against fellow Republican Rory Horning in the primary.

The woman who beat Schoening out for Justice of the Peace two years ago, Joey Jayne, also faces an opponent, but both Jayne and Randal Owens will advance to the Nov. 4 general election. JP candidates run as nonpartisan.


The county is home to all or part of four state House and three Senate districts as well.

The county’s main Senate seat is not up for election this year.

Its largest House district, 12, will feature a Nov. 4 matchup between Republican state Rep. Greg Hertz and Democratic challenger William McLaughlin.

Like many of the county races, HD 15 will likely be decided in the June primary. Democrats Eldena Bear Don’t Walk of St. Ignatius and George Kipp III of Heart Butte, seek the nomination in a district with no Republican challenger.

Republicans Mike Hebert of Somers and Albert Olszewski of Kalispell will square off in the primary for the right to go up against Democrat Kim Fleming of Lakeside in HD 11.

In HD 9, state Rep. Randy Brodehl, R-Kalispell, will face Democrat Diane Frances Taylor of Columbia Falls in November.

Republicans Bob Keenan and Scott Reichner of Bigfork are running for the Republican nomination in Senate District 5, where the winner will meet Democrat Daniel S. King of Bigfork in the general election.

Part of SD 8 is also in Lake County. The candidates there are both from Cut Bank, Democrat Lea Whitford and Republican Liane Johnson.

Reporter Vince Devlin can be reached at 1-800-366-7186 or by email at

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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