Former Planning Board member Bill Cole and State Rep. Jeff Essmann, former chairman of the Republican Party of Montana are headed for a November showdown to become Billings’ next mayor in the general election.  Q2 reports that voters selected the two top candidates from a field of six during Tuesday’s primary election.

Cole is the current chairman of the Billings Chamber of Commerce board of directors and former president of the Yellowstone County Planning Board.  The Billings attorney received over 7,700 votes, or 32 percent.  Essmann is currently a state legislator and former Senate President.  He picked up over 6,300 votes, or 27 percent. Both served on the planning board years ago.

Other mayoral candidates Randy Hafer finished third, followed by Danielle Egnew, Angela Cimmino, Danny Sandefur and Paul Bledsoe.  Unofficial municipal election results are posted at