Flitner runs away with GOP House race

by nathan oster

Jamie Flitner of Shell was a landslide winner in Tuesday’s primary election, garnering 70 percent of the votes cast to earn the Republican nomination for the expiring House District 26 seat now held by Elaine Harvey of Lovell.

Flitner moves to the general election, where she will be opposed by Jean Petty and Joyce Collins. Though unopposed, Petty and Collins were winners in their own right Tuesday, winning the Democratic and Constitution primaries with 131 and 10 votes, respectively.

Flitner’s vote total far surpassed those of her rivals in the Republican-dominated Big Horn County. She won every precinct and amassed 1,264 votes. Tim Mills finished second with 370 votes (21 percent), followed by Phil Abromats with 159 votes (9 percent).

All three of the candidates have Greybull addresses, but reside in the Shell area, where Flitner and her husband Tim are ranchers, Mills is an activity bus driver for the Greybull schools and Abromats is an attorney.

Flitner ran strong in every precinct, but nowhere more so than in Greybull, where with 424 tallies in her column, she got 80 percent of the votes cast by Republican voters. Mills trailed with 70, followed by Abromats with 30.

Lovell also went Flitner’s way. She was credited with 422 votes in that community, followed by 158 for Mills and 65 for Abromats. In Cowley, 172 went to Flitner, 44 to Mills and nine to Abromats.

Flitner said she was “overwhelmed” and “touched” by the support shown by voters. “I look forward to also doing well in the general election and certainly hope that I do have the opportunity to serve.”

She credited Mills and Abromats, her Republican opponents, for staying positive in their campaigns. When asked about the keys to her decisive victory, Flitner said she “just tried to speak to what I could, which was the success that I’ve been able to be a part of as a trustee on the school board, and our success within our district.

“That, and I truly am willing to listen to people, to work hard and to take their concerns to the state level. I didn’t rail about the government or anything like that.”

Flitner said she did a lot of door-to-door campaigning, a lesson she learned from her grandfather, who served in the state senate for 20 years, and from her father, who ran for county commission. She had a group of ladies who helped her in that part of the campaign, including her mother, who did it “on her 74-year-old legs and fresh off a bronze medal in the Senior Olympics. I also had the support of some key people in the northern part of the county, which helped, too.”