By CARMEN GEORGE and JOSH BENHAM
Experience trumped youth Tuesday night as retired high school teacher Robin Hamilton beat his 21-year-old GOP challenger in a landslide.
Republican candidate Dan Stusek chalked his loss up to timing, but vowed he would someday return to the ring.
“It’s a Democratic year,” said Stusek, A University of Montana senior. “He’s also an incumbent and he’s a lot more well known than I am.”
With all the precincts and some absentee ballots counted, Hamilton claimed 66 percent of the vote, out polling Stusek 3,035 to 1,567. The district covers 771 square miles centered on the Rattlesnake.
Hamilton couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday night.
The fourth-generation Rattlesnake resident is well known in the district he has represented since 2005. He taught at Hellgate High School for 24 years and campaigned on a platform supporting a government-backed educational system in Missoula, as well as the implementation of eco-friendly ideas into the school system.
Stusek advocated for increased domestic oil, gas and coal extraction and increased power for the legislature.
Stusek said he didn’t know what office he would seek next, but that he would be in the running again soon.
“I’ll definitely still be around,” Stusek said. “And I’ll have better results for next time for sure.”