Bozeman’s sitting mayor Cyndy Andrus kept her long-held seat on the city’s governing body in Tuesday’s election. Commission newcomer Michael Wallner will join her.

Andrus, 62, defeated challenger Brian LaMeres to become Bozeman’s next deputy mayor by a margin of 61% to 37.9%, according to unofficial results released Tuesday night.

Andrus has been on the commission since 2010.

“I’m really honored to have won again,” Andrus said Tuesday. “Its been a pleasure to serve the community, and I really look forward to another four years.”

She said she was home with her parents, family and friends for a thank you party following her race “because we didn’t know how it was going to go.”

Andrus was born in Rochester, Minnesota, and has been in Bozeman for more than 25 years. Andrus ran on her experience in city politics and said she wanted to continue to work on reducing barriers to housing and the weight property owners carry in the area’s taxes.

LaMeres, 52, is a certified public accountant who has worked for the city for 23 years. He also made an unsuccessful mayoral bid in 2017.

LaMeres pitched himself as someone to hold the commission accountable and a replacement of sorts to longtime commissioner Jeff Krauss, who is known to vote outside of the majority and whose term ends this year.

LaMeres said he was thankful for the support he saw through the election from voters, his campaign and his partner.

He said he hopes to see city commissioners improve their relationship with Gallatin County.

“And just always take the existing taxpayers into consideration for every decision that is made,” he said.

Wallner, a 32-year-old data analyst, beat out two other candidates to fill the general commission seat, picking up 56.5% of the vote.

As he celebrated the win at Ted’s with campaign staff and volunteers Tuesday night, Wallner said he’s grateful for the opportunity from voters.

“I stand by my campaign promises of property tax relief, preserving our high quality of life, equal pay and equal treatment of women and minorities, and somehow finding more solutions for our challenging affordable housing problem in Bozeman,” he said.

Wallner works for TechLink, a U.S. Department of Defense partnership based in Bozeman. From Minnesota, Wallner arrived in Bozeman 13 years ago to attend Montana State University.

Wallner said he began thinking of a bid for city politics roughly five years ago and has since kept close to commission leaders.

He acted as a special adviser to former mayor Carson Taylor, a title he now holds with Deputy Mayor Chris Mehl after helping the city compare Bozeman’s property taxes and building fees with other mountain towns. He also served on the city’s historic preservation board.

Next behind him was candidate Mark Egge with 32%. Egge, 33, had a campaign focused on connecting Bozeman residents to safer bike paths and better city transportation. He also said the city should prioritize planning that puts jobs and shops close to homes.

Zach Krumm, 30, received 10%. Krumm tried to set himself apart from other candidates as someone who still rents and struggles to afford Bozeman’s cost of living. He campaigned on making housing a right in Bozeman and said that should start with the city of Bozeman building housing for people who are homeless.

Both Andrus and Wallner have said the city needs to go back to Helena to ask lawmakers to give towns like Bozeman the chance to pass a local option sales tax, also known as a tourist tax. That’s a longstanding city commission goal that’s failed to make it through legislative sessions in the last decade.

Andrus and Wallner will begin their terms in 2020. At that time, Deputy Mayor Chris Mehl will begin his two-year term as mayor before Andrus rotates back into the role.

Wallner said he has “some big shoes to fill” as he replaces Krauss, who has been on the body for 16 years.

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