After the Campbell County Canvassing Board certified the results of Tuesday's primary election, hundreds of write-in votes for four Gillette City Council seats were tabulated Friday morning.

The examination of the write-ins show the following people can move on to the general election ballot in November if they accept their nominations:

Ward 1: Eric Hanson

Ward 2: Mark Junek

Ward 3: Laura Chapman (for a full four-year term)

Ward 3: Bob Vomhof (for a 2-year unexpired term)

For Vomhof, the write-in result caps two months of protesting and campaigning against Mayor Louise Carter-King and the rest of the City Council.

He and a vocal group city residents were sparked by the abrupt resignation of former Ward 3 councilman Shay Lundvall on June 10.

After learning that Lundvall had "liked" a handful of potentially sexist, racist and violent social media posts, the mayor and council gave him an ultimatum: resign or they would make the social media behavior public. While Lundvall chose to give up his seat, he later admitted regret in a public Facebook post, saying he felt pressured.

In response, the council issued a press release detailing how and why they pushed Lundvall to resign, including copies of four of the offending Facebook posts — all made by Vomhof.

Vomhof has since been one of the loudest voices among those calling for the mayor and council to apologize and resign. He also said he wanted to be a write-in for the Ward 3 seat held by Nate McLeland.

Attempts to contact Vomhof for comment on his write-in win were not successful.

As for McLeland, he said he's fine with having Vomhof as an opponent for the Nov. 3 election. 

McLeland also said that while he was unopposed pending the emergence of a write-in opponent, he "never assumed that the seat would just be mine. I always expected to have to work for it."

He also said that while Vomhof has been openly critical of the council and his family, he'll be fine debating or participating in candidate forums with his potential opponent.

"I'm always willing to participate in forums that are put on," McLeland said. "I think that's part of the process."

He also said that he's "willing to work hard, and I have worked hard, and I believe in this city."

Other races

For all the potential write-in candidates, they'll have to formally accept their nominations through the county Elections Office to be on the general election ballot.

If they do that, Hanson will face incumbent Ward 1 Councilman Bruce Brown and Junek will run againt incumbent Ward 2 Councilman Billy Montgomery.

As for Lundvall's Ward 3 seat, he's already on the ballot because he had filed for reelection prior to his resignation. Chapman was appointed less than two months ago to serve the remaining time of his term, and now seems primed to run against him to retain the seat.

While there has been some animosity surrounding local politics lately, Montgomery said that's not the case between he and his write-in opponent, Junek.

They're old friends and worked together at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad for many years.

"I guess competition is good," Montgomery said, adding they'll remain friends.

Junek said he welcomes running for election and being on the ballot.

"This is really my first involvement in a political campaign," he said. "It's a bit new to me."

If elected, Junek said he would focus on the city being fiscally responsible and more transparent with the public.

In Ward 1, Hanson is a heavy equipment maintenance technician at Eagle Butte mine and a master sergeant in the Wyoming Army National Guard. He said he wants to help lower city spending and taxes.

Hanson also said he's feeling excited and overwhelmed at the same time, "because there's a lot more campaigning that I'm going to do."

He also said he'll leave no stone unturned in getting his message across.

"I'm going to try and get with some people who have some more experience with this whole process and try to get their input on how I need to move forward," he said.

Attempts to reach other candidates in the race weren't immediately successful.

(3) comments

argh

A real job! And then a haircut?

Rezident

Shay and Bob have my full support!

Time for the mayor to RESIGN!

hey now

News Flash! Today the mayor resigned herself to the fact that some rezidents exhibit one track minds.

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