Election results, Cole Wins Mayorship vote for City of Billings

BILLINGS– Billings voters selected Bill Cole as their next mayor on Tuesday, as the former Chamber of Commerce board president easily defeated former state Rep. Jeff Essmann in the municipal general election.
In unofficial results reported Tuesday shortly after the polls closed at 8 p.m., Cole received 15,852 votes, or 63.43 percent of the ballots. Essmann received 8,968 votes, or 35.89 percent.
Voters also cast 170 write-in ballots in the mayor’s race.
Unofficial results showed countywide voter turnout was 41.9 percent, with 33,014 total ballots cast. The county had 78,792 voters registered for the general election.
Cole will replace outgoing Mayor Tom Hanel, who was unable to seek re-election because of term limits. The non-partisan mayor’s term begins in January 2018, when a new city administrator may also be on board.
In Billings City Council races, incumbent Mike Yakawich defeated challenger Charlie Smillie in Ward 1. Yakawich received 2,073 votes and Smillie received 1,203 votes.
In Ward 2, Frank Ewalt received 2,464 votes, defeating Roger M. Gravgaard, who received 2,046 votes. Ewalt will replace Angela Cimmino, who served two terms on the council and was not eligible to run again.
In the Ward 3 race, Denise Joy won the seat with 2,8112 votes over Nadja Brown, who received 2,069 votes.
Penny Ronning won the Ward 4 race, gathering 3,734 votes to defeat George Blackard, who totaled 3,294 votes.
In Ward 5, incumbent D. Shaun Brown received 1,964 votes to defeat Dennis Ulvestad, who totaled 1,612 votes.