Bukacek, Repke and Pinocci led races for Montana Public Service Commission seats

In Montana’s Public Service Commission races, Anne Bukacek won narrowly over Derek Skees by 57 votes. Incumbent Randy Pinocci easily won his race to represent Eastern Montana.

Returns in District 5 broke down like this for Republicans: Anne Bukacek with 10,497 votes, Derek Skees 10,440, Joe Dooling 9,243 and Dean Crabb 2,931.


In the Democratic primary, Whitefish resident John Repke had 7,722 votes, and Kevin Hamm of Helena had 6,519 votes.

District 5 includes Flathead, Lake, Lewis and Clark, and Teton counties, with Flathead typically delivering half of the votes in past Republican primaries. Three of the Republican candidates hail from Kalispell, a mix that’s sure to dilute the home-county advantage for all three. The only Republican not from Kalispell is Dooling, of Helena.

Incumbent Brad Johnson, of Helena was prevented from running by term limits.

Montana is one of the few states in the nation that elects its utility commissioners, the people who balance customer rates and reliable service with a monopoly’s fixed rate of return. The only job requirement is that candidates be of voting age and live in their district. Base pay is

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