Elgin Faber fell one vote short of filling the open seat on the Campbell County Commission on Tuesday afternoon.
He received support from two of the four sitting commissioners, but the remaining two voted for none of the three final applicants, meaning the vote ended in a 2-2 tie.
Now the decision will be made by a local District Court judge, who will be selected at random.
Commissioners spent three hours interviewing Faber, Jeff Raney and Troy McKeown on Tuesday afternoon.
At the end of the process, Commissioners Micky Shober and Matt Avery did not vote for any of the three candidates, which ensured that none of them would get majority support. Faber received support from Commission Chairman Mark Christensen and Commissioner Rusty Bell.
Faber, a rancher, minister and small business owner, said he respects the board’s decision.
“It’s not my call to make,” he said. “I showed up to put my best foot forward, represent my beliefs and my community.”
Avery said it was one of the toughest decisions he’s had to make in his nearly eight years on the board.
“I was voted in by the people of Campbell County, and I need to listen to them,” he said.
The last few weeks, people had been calling him, worried about county leadership, he said. Based on that, he said he felt that not voting for any of the three candidates was the best way to represent his constituents.
Christensen said he doesn’t fault Shober and Avery for voting the way they did, adding that there’s been a concern among the commissioners about how long it takes to get up to speed with all the tasks involved with being on the board.
Faber could be a good commissioner, Christensen added, but “He just needs a little bit of experience.”
Bell said he was impressed by the amount of effort Faber put in to educate himself, including watching every county commission meeting for the last two years and, in the last three weeks, studying the county’s budgets, revenue sources and expenditures.
“He’s shown he’s willing to put in the time, and I’ll help him put in that time (if he’s selected through other means),” Bell said.
During the interview process, Faber said that if selected, he would be “active and engaged” as a commissioner, adding that Sundays “are non-negotiable,” because he is a minister.