In a dramatic final vote that occurred at 11:15 p.m. on Monday night, Mike Nugent nobly stepped aside after several locked votes and Jordan Hess was elected by the Missoula City Council to be the City of Missoula’s mayor until the next election.

The council wrapped up a process that took several weeks filled with meetings, interviews, and finally the council meeting on Monday night when Hess finally received the seven votes necessary to prevail.

After Mayor John Engen died, the process to replace him began. Two city councilors, Jordan Hess and Mike Nugent were both nominated, with the third and final nomination of former city councilor Fred Rice. As the votes wore on, more names were added, but in the end, Mike Nugent put the city before himself and removed his name from the nomination so that Hess could prevail and become mayor.

“It's kind of like the best and the worst of Missoula, all in one,” a tearful Nugent said, “And the unfortunate thing is, you know, I respect Jordan so much. And, you know, he and I've been talking for a while and we've been talking about this process for a long time. And I think the funny thing is that Jordan is the damn reason I ran. He talked me into this before he decided to do it himself. And so here we are.”

After gathering himself, Nugent expressed his appreciation for those who supported him in the council votes.

“You know, thank you all,” he said. “Sorry for showing you that I'm not just a stoic guy who sits here and you know, opines but I do get emotional sometimes. And thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be part of this. And, you know, I, I'll just repeat it that I'm, I'm, I'll be proud to work with Mayor Hess and if anybody outside wants to criticize how this is all gone, you know, that's your problem, and you're not rowing for Missoula. You're rowing against Missoula.”

Following his comments, the final vote was taken by City Clerk Marti Rehbein.

“Alright, we have a nomination; Hess, Nugent, Rice, Giordano, and Avery,” she said. “Sherrill. Hess. Vasecka, Hess. West, Nugent. Anderson, Hess. Becerra, Hess. Carlino, Rice. Contos, Hess. Hess, Hess. Jones, Nugent. Jordan, Nugent. Nugent, Jordan Hess. Savage, Nugent. Would any of you like to change your votes? We have seven votes for Hess. Four votes for Nugent and one vote for Rice.”

Hess will be sworn in to fill the term of the late John Engen.

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