Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The 2023 Missoula Municipal Election preliminary results were released to the media a few minutes after 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, and the top two candidates for mayor were announced by Missoula County Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman at the Election Center on Russell Street.

Preliminary Results show that Jordan Hess will not Advance to the General Election

“Our top two vote-getters as of right now are Andrea Davis with 6,676 votes and number two would be Mike Nugent with 4,400 votes,” began Seaman. “Now these are not all of the ballots we've gotten through and we do expect to add votes to these totals. For our Ward Five, it looks like the top two vote-getters so far are Robert Campbell and Linwood Fields.”

Andrea Davis and Mike Nugent Lead the Primary Vote for Mayor

Interim Mayor Jordan Hess was third in the mayoral race with 2,451 votes

In Ward 5, Campbell, a retired Missoula Police Sergeant, had 931 votes to Linwood Fields at 793, and David Bell at 462. If these numbers hold true until the final canvass of votes, then Campbell would face Fields in the general election.

As far as voter turnout was concerned, Seaman had hoped for higher numbers but was happy with the response to a municipal primary election. He described the percentage of ballots returned.

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“We had a 43.5 percent valid return rate as of eight o'clock, and the turnout as of eight o'clock was at 35.8 percent,” he said. “To compare that to 2021, our last municipal primary, we had a 44.5 percent valid return rate, so we’re very much on track with a 37.9 percent turnout very much on track. We’re the elections office and we want these numbers to be much closer to 100 percent, but historically we're really spot on and we got our election results out right at eight o'clock.”

Seaman described the difference between the ‘active return rate’ and the ‘ballot return rate’.

“In a mail ballot election, only active voters are sent a ballot in the mail,” he said. “An inactive voter is considered an eligible voter and can come here and get a ballot. So when we consider all of our eligible voters and include those inactive voters who never got a ballot, that's why our turnout number is lower, which is why I like to talk about a ballot return rate because it's much more accurate. These are the people who got a ballot and voted it compared to those who may not have even gotten a ballot and didn't vote.”

Out of 54,773 registered voters, the ballots cast totaled 15,579 for the Primary

As of 8:00 p.m. according to the Missoula Elections Center out of 54,773 registered voters, the ballots cast totaled only 15,579.

That number will grow as all the ballots are counted in the official canvass which will be announced on September 20.

Unofficial numbers of 7:42 a.m. on September 13, 2023:

Missoula Mayor:

Andrea Davis44%9,093
Mike Nugent28%5,746
Jordan Hess (I)16%3,262
Shawn Knopp12%2,429
Brandi Atanasoff1%212

Missoula City Council Ward 5

Robert Campbell43%1,450
Lynn-Wood Fields36%1,218
Dave Bell20%670

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