Alone for the next-to-last count


So Adam Hertz inched ahead yesterday. He did so by just one vote, but it widened the divide between him and Councilwoman Pam Walzer.

I went to the Missoula County Courthouse to watch in person and was struck by how subdued the scene was. During campaigns, it seems like supporters and fans and loved ones swirl around candidates like busy bees around a queen.

In the courthouse conference room, though, Hertz and Walzer each sat alone. It reminded me that at the end of the day, these guys are sticking their own necks out. I was sitting a couple chairs to the left of Walzer, and at one point, another woman was sitting between us. I don’t know if she was one of Walzer’s people or a county employee or someone else, but she left early on.

So there they were, just the two of them.

The recount is tomorrow, and it’s going to be a hand count. Every single ballot read aloud. Riveting. Well, kind of. And when the counting gets dull, some of us have the luxury of taking a little break from the room.

I wonder if they’ll have a digital scoreboard like sports. That’d be cool, right? But probably they don’t have one.

This morning, I was just on the phone with someone who was talking about the Ward 2 recount. This person said he likes Walzer well enough, having worked with her on the Missoula City Council the past four years. But he also would like to see a conservative viewpoint better represented on the Council.

I hope one of them wins, and it isn’t a tie. Otherwise, it’s up to the City Council, and that’s anticlimactic. Well, it’s interesting when it comes to appointing judges and it was fun when Councilman Roy Houseman left and tons of candidates applied to finish his term. In this case, though, Walzer told me the Council would appoint either her or Hertz.


Well, one more day of waiting.

— Keila Szpaller