Three new mayors will take the reins in the Bitterroot valley at the beginning of 2018, and while some incumbent council members were ousted, others retained their seats.

Dominic Farrenkopf led the race for Hamilton mayor for most of Tuesday night over Travis Martinez, with a final vote of 894 to 362. Farrenkopf pulled in 71 percent of the vote compared to 29 percent for Martinez. Current Mayor Jerry Steele decided not to seek another term.

"I'm very pleased with the results," Farrenkopf said. "I'm very grateful to everyone who supported me, and I thank them for their confidence to elect me as mayor."

In Darby, Willard "Buck" Titus upset incumbent Mayor JC McDowell 176 to 67 votes, with Titus getting 72 percent of the vote to McDowell's 27 percent. Although it's typically difficult to beat an incumbent, Titus said he didn't feel like it was an upset.

"Living here in Darby nearly 50 years, you get to know people and I think that was the main thing," Titus said on Wednesday. "I think people are excited to get the team concept going again."

In the three-way Stevensville race, Mayor Jim Crews garnered 174 votes (35 percent), while Brandon Dewey ousted him with 221 votes, or 45 percent of the ballots cast. Mark Adams was a distant third with 98 votes (20 percent).

Dewey said he's eager to start a transition and open the channels of communication among the town and the community, but also between himself and the council. As part of that, he's also hopes to employ more social media and improve the town's website.

"I think we'll see some customer service improvements not only in how people deal with the town, but also opening some social media channels that we haven't in the past," Dewey said.  

In the Hamilton Ward 1 race, incumbent Kristi Bielski won with 54 percent of the vote over challenger Eric Monson, at 233 to 194. No one opposed Rod Pogachar in Ward 2, and challenger Claire Kemp took 62 percent of the vote over incumbent Ken Bell in Ward 3, with 264 votes to 155.

Bielski said she's thrilled to build upon her four years of experience, and Kemp said she's excited to take on her new role.

In the Darby council race, Bill De Spain had 120 votes to Pamela Hart-Schlapman's 103 for the council's at-large seat. Bret Rider led the Ward 2 unexpired term race over Jason Lewis 67 to 39; George Costello was running unopposed for the Ward 2 full term and George Cuff was unopposed for the Ward 1 seat.

In the Stevensville council races, incumbent Robin Holcomb beat challenger Laura Miller 122 to 88 for the Ward 1 seat, and Ray Smith was elected with 121 votes compared to 106 for Jerry Phillips for the open Ward 2 seat.

The actual vote count for all races won't be official until next week's canvass.

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