14 hours After Polls Close: OPI Race Too Close to Call
The race for Superintendent of Public Instruction between Democratic incumbent Denise Juneau and Republican challenger Sandy Welch is now the closest statewide race, with Juneau clinging to a tiny lead for the office which head’s Montana’s public school system.
As of 9:15 AM, with 70% of precincts reporting, Juneau had garnered 50.21% of the vote while Welch stood at 49.63%, a difference of a mere 2,439 votes.
Early returns initially showed Juneau with a wide lead giving the appearance that Juneau might win easily, however, as the night turned into morning the race slowly and steadily tightened.
“It’s 4:05 a.m., and we are within one-percentage point. This is close!,” reported Welch on her campaign’s Facebook page.
If Welch were to win, she would be the first elected Republican into the Office of Public Instruction since 1988.
Neither campaign could be reached for comment.