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Democratic leaders from Missoula County seconded Rep. Kevin Furey's notion that his father replace him at the Montana Legislature's special session.

On a closed ballot vote Tuesday night, Tim Furey of Bonner received the most support of three nominees the Democratic Central Committee will forward to county commissioners Wednesday to represent House District 91.

Nina Cramer and Sue Malek were the only other Democrats nominated to serve in the special session that starts Thursday in Helena. Cramer was Kevin Furey's campaign manager. Malek served as chairwoman of Missoula's City Local Government Study Commission.

Voting took place at the end of a short and amiable session in City Council Chambers during the Democratic committee's monthly meeting.

Commissioners Barbara Evans, Bill Carey and Jean Curtiss will interview each of the three nominees Wednesday before their 10 a.m. administrative meeting. They'll announce their choice at the weekly public meeting at 1:30 p.m. in the Missoula County Courthouse Annex, Room 201.

If he's their selection, Tim Furey said he's prepared to leave for Helena on Wednesday afternoon. Gov. Brian Schweitzer announced Monday the special session would begin at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

"I can pack light," said Furey, 52. "I feel the governor wouldn't have called everybody back together if they didn't have something they felt they could work with and that people on both sides will be happy with."

Kevin Furey, 24, began 144 days of officer training Monday with an Army Reserve unit at Fort Sill, Okla. He was in his second term as a representative for a district that stretches in an irregular pattern from east of Clearwater Junction to Lolo and includes East Missoula, Milltown and Bonner.

When it became clear a special session was imminent, the younger Furey notified Secretary of State Brad Johnson he would not be able to serve because of his military obligations and requested a replacement. He recommended that replacement be his father, who was active in both of his son's two campaigns.

Each of the three nominees was given time to present his or her case Tuesday night during a comment period. Furey and Malek both said they planned to run for the Legislature in 2008.

Furey is director of development for Opportunity Resources in Missoula.

Malek, who lives in the Pattee Canyon area, has been with the University of Montana School of Business Administration for the past 18 years and is academic advising coordinator.

Cramer, of East Missoula, has been active in Democratic politics for the past 21 years. She is a staffing specialist in the health care division of Express Personnel Services in Missoula.

The nominees were ranked on the ballots of 21 precinct leaders and executive committee officers. When the votes were tallied, the top choice received one point, the second choice two and the third three. Furey received 28 points, Cramer 42 and Malek 55.

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