KTVQ.com reports that the race for Billings mayor went to attorney Bill Cole by a comfortable margin on Tuesday night.  Cole is the former chairman of the Billings Chamber of Commerce board of directors and former president of the Yellowstone County Planning Board.  He received roughly 63 percent of the vote as of 8:20 p.m. Tuesday, defeating former Montana Republican Party Chair Jeff Essmann, an incumbent state representative with 36 percent.

Cole said he plans to listen to residents as he takes the helm in Billings, saying [quote] “I want them to know their voice will be heard.  The way that we can make progress in the city is if we all, or as many as possible, grow in the same direction,” [end quote].  Cole said he’s looking forward to the next four years.  Essmann congratulated Cole on the victory.