Winter wins House District 96 seat over incumbent Hertz by 39 votes

Tom Winter

While most Missoula County candidates knew their fate the day after the election, one race wasn’t decided until provisional ballots were counted Tuesday evening.

On Tuesday night, Democrat Tom Winter celebrated his win over Republican candidate Adam Hertz in the race for House District 96.

That morning, Winter held about a 40-vote lead over the incumbent, with about 200 provisional ballots still to go in the district. By 8 p.m., Winter learned he retained a 39-vote lead to win the seat after almost 5,700 votes had been cast. That’s about 2,000 more than in 2014.

Winter let his constituents know the result on social media.

“Missoula clearly wanted its loudest voice heard, and I’m thrilled to announce they’ve spoken in our favor by the narrowest of margins. Few other house seats in Montana flipped this election, and pre-campaign polling indicated this district leaned Republican. We’ve proven our message of inclusive, empathetic, common-sense politics is one that resonates across party lines, with people from all different backgrounds, in a state that prides itself on eccentricity,” Winter wrote on his campaign’s Facebook page.

Winter’s win means only three of 12 state representative seats in Missoula County remain in Republican hands.

Brad Tschida of House District 97, Mike Hopkins of HD 92 and Denley Loge of HD 14 won their bids for re-election.

On the Democratic side, most candidates won their re-election efforts while a few seats traded hands because some legislators had termed out.

Nate McConnell won in Senate District 48 and Diane Sands won in Senate District 49.

Tom Facey couldn’t run again in Senate District 50, so Bryce Bennett moved over from his seat in House District 91. Connie Keogh won the HD 91 seat.

In HD 89, David Severson termed out to be replaced by Katie Sullivan, while Ellie Hill Smith termed out of her HD 90 seat to be replaced by Marilyn Marler.

The following legislators won re-election bids: Kim Dudik, HD 94; Shane Morigeau, HD 95; Willis Curdy, HD 98; Marilyn Ryan, HD 99; and Andrea Olson, HD 100.