Billings City Councilman Shirley McDermott tells me that she has filed to run as a Republican in House District 49. Kendall Van Dyk already has announced as a Democrat in that district. His campaign treasurer, interestingly enough, is City Councilman Peggie Gaghen.
UPDATE: Just got a note from Roy Brown, the incumbent, in HD49, announcing his candidacy in Senate District 25, which encompasses HD49 and HD50. And, of course, I should have mentioned already that Gene Jarussi is running as a Democrat in HD49.
I don't know Van Dyk, but I think Jarussi vs. McDermott could be a heck of a race. Jarussi hung tough during the teachers' strike, and McDermott certainly made her share of enemies on the council. Both come into the race with a good deal of experience and a lot of name recognition, and Jarussi might be the more conservative of the two. Good matchup.
2ND UPDATE: In light of my past prognostication record, I should probably go ahead and pick this one. But I don't have a feel for it. McDermott will take some heat for the City Council's various fiascos, but she can say, at least, that she has been on the side of open government. Plus it always has seemed to me that she does a superb job of representing her constituents.
Jarussi will take some heat for the school board's various fiascos, but he really did take a strong stand in the strike, and that took piles of guts. The strike also was longer ago, but then, teachers may have longer memories. On the other hand, Democrats always seem to be the default choice of educators.
I don't think I know the district well enough to decide who would be the better fit. My pick: It won't be Van Dyk.