Tuesday’s municipal primary election  resulted in two candidates remaining in the race for Mayor of Missoula; incumbent John Engen and challenger Jacob Elder.

attachment-John Engen at Silver Park

In the initial results as of 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Engen garnered a little over 50 percent of the vote, while Jacob Elder received just under 28 percent. Shawn Knopp came in at 17.5 percent and Greg Strandberg with about four percent.

KGVO spoke to Elder about the primary results.

“Elections are held to elect people that will have significant power or perhaps be in a position to make decisions over our lives and the lives of our loved ones and the destiny of our community,” said Elder. “So, I want folks to refrain from voting on based on their feelings or whims but to please vote for the candidate that's most qualified.”

Elder, who has never run for or held office, said he will run on his record.

“I believe I'm the most qualified candidate,” he said. “My record speaks for itself and I don't consider myself a politician. I consider myself a public civil servant that’s running to serve your needs and lead our community down a prosperous road.”

Elder pointed out the major these of his campaign.

“We are at a point where we have a rising crime rate, and we have ever increasing homelessness,” he said. “Folks can't afford to buy a home here and young families cannot afford to rent. Home prices are too high and living costs are extremely high, and these things are happening all around us. So I'm not sure what kind of experience that we can trust from the mayor. The mayor has shown what he can do, and he's forgotten about our working class Missoulians and, and so many of our community members have been disenfranchised.”

Elder said he eagerly anticipates a face-to-face debate with Mayor Engen between now and the November general election.

“I am willing to debate the mayor and I will ask that it be in person because I think it brings a different dimension to the conversation and we must have these conversations in person,” he said. “Now if the mayor is concerned about COVID we can wear our mask and we can follow the CDC precautions and but I would love for us to have this conversation in person, so that the community can get to see us in real time and get to ask us tough questions.”

Engen is seeking his fifth term as Missoula’s mayor.

In the City Council races, in Ward 1, Jennifer Savage and Jane Van Fossen will advance to the general election, as will Kristen Jordan and Tom Taylor in Ward 6.

The general election will be in November.

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