Support Local Journalism


Subscribe


Bozeman Deputy Mayor Terry Cunningham defeated two challengers in a landslide victory Tuesday night in the race to become the city’s next mayor.

According to unofficial final results released at 11:30 p.m., Cunningham had received 8,522 votes, representing 66% of the counted ballots, topping challengers Brian LaMeres, who received 26% of the vote, and Christopher Brizzolara, who received 7%.

It was an unsurprising result in a race that saw Cunningham, the incumbent, raise and spend nearly $30,000. LaMeres self-funded his campaign and estimated last week the total would come in around $23,000. Brizzolara did not raise or spend money on his campaign.

Cunningham, 62, was first elected to the commission in 2017 and was appointed deputy mayor by his colleagues in 2020.

Speaking from the Gallatin County Courthouse Tuesday night as results were rolling in, Cunningham said he was overwhelmed by the support he has received.

“We think our message that we can solve our community’s most challenging problems by collaborating in a focused way with other local partners is gaining resonance in Bozeman,” Cunningham said.

During his campaign, Cunningham touted projects he has worked on, including the affordable housing project behind Lowe’s and the establishment of a few dog parks across the county.

Cunningham ran on a platform of pushing increased collaboration with other entities in the region, like the county, school district and Montana State, to solve the region’s many-layered challenges related to population growth.

He said Tuesday he wants to work collaboratively with Mayor Cyndy Andrus on partnerships with other organizations to start tackling the city’s problems.

Under Bozeman’s government structure, Cunningham will remain deputy mayor for two more years, then assume the mayoral position in 2023. Mayor Cyndy Andrus will start her official two-year term as mayor in January.

Challenger Brian LaMeres, a former city employee who lost the same race in 2017 and 2019, came in second this time around.

LaMeres, who runs the Lewis and Clark Motels in Bozeman and Three Forks with his wife, pushed fiscal responsibility during his campaign and criticized the city’s affordable housing levy, which was failing according to preliminary results.

LaMeres said Tuesday evening that he wishes Cunningham well.

“I’m just feeling grateful for all the voters who did turn out,” LaMeres said.

Brizzolara, a 29-year-old graduate student at MSU, could not be reached for comment Tuesday as he was traveling home for a family obligation.

Support Local Journalism

To see what else is happening in Gallatin County subscribe to the online paper.

Nora Shelly can be reached at nshelly@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2607.

Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Subscribers get full, survey-free access to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's award-winning coverage both on our website and in our e-edition, a digital replica of the print edition.