In a special session, the Missoula City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a primary election for Ward 4 after one of the candidates cleared his filing with the Office of the Commissioner of Political Practices.
The measure passed 8-0, with four members of the council absent, officially placing Ward 4 candidate Alan Ault back in the race, and placing all three candidates before that district’s voters this September.
“We’ve received a new official communication from the Commissioner of Political Practices indicating that Mr. Ault has completed that process,” said council president Bryan von Lossberg. “That then places three folks on the ballot in Ward 4.”
The City Council initially set a primary for Wards 1, 3, 4 and 5 during last week’s committee meeting after the filing deadline closed, as each of the four wards had three candidates.
But on Monday night, when the council moved to approve the primary during its regular weekly meeting, it learned that Ault had failed to file necessary paperwork with the state. That left Ward 4 with only two candidates, eliminating the need for a primary.
That changed again this week, however, after Ault corrected the deficiencies in his filing. He was approved for the ballot by the Commissioner of Political Practices, once again leaving Ward 4 with three candidates.
“In order to provide some level of consistency in how we’re treating this, it would make sense to include this (ward) in the primary,” said council member John DiBari. “Had we had different information on Monday evening, this would have been the motion – to include all four wards.”
The top two vote-getters in each ward will move on to November’s general election.