By COLLIN BEHAN and CAMERON RASMUSSON
County beat city Tuesday night as Democrat Michele Landquist defeated incumbent Larry Anderson in the race for Missoula County Board of Commissioners.
With only absentee ballots left to count, Anderson conceded defeat.
“It looks like I’m a victim of the Obama tsunami that’s coming through,” he said.
A nervous and largely disappointed Republican group at the Double Tree Hotel in downtown Missoula said it looked like Obama voters had marked Democrat straight down the ballots.
In the county race, the tally was Landquist’s 55 percent to Anderson’s 45 percent – her 22,827 votes to his 18,565. She will be the sole Missoula County resident serving on the three-member panel that makes decisions about county policy. The other two commissioners reside in the city.
Lanquist ran on the promise that she would be a voice for county residents living outside of Missoula. Anderson lives in the city limits, and campaigned as a fiscally conservative Republican serving on a majority Democratic panel.
Landquist said was stunned by her victory.
“Until they make an official announcement, it won’t sink in,” she said.
She declined to speculate on what her victory means, adding that it would be an insult to her voters for her to speculate on why she won. The voters are smart enough to elect the best candidate for the job, she said.
Landquist also said that she hopes to see the benefits that Missoula enjoys, such as recycling and preschools, extended to the rest of the county. In addition, she plans to carefully manage urban expansion and emphasize environmental friendliness.
But things move so fast in the commission that it’s difficult to determine what she will need to do first, Landquist said.
“I’ve got my list of things from talking to people but we’ll just have to see,” she said.