Unless something dramatic happens (hanging chads, etc), Dona Stebbins will be sworn in as the new Mayor of Great Falls! As of 10:35 pm, her lead over incumbent Randy Gray was more than 300 votes. I attended the election night party at the Howard’s Pizza/50s Casino with Dona, her family, and many of her friends and supporters. There were probably about 50 or 60 people, and the mood was relaxed and upbeat: people munched on delicious pizza, enjoyed some beverages, and mingled and met each other. Among the folks attending were R.J. Haffner, of the R&R Casino; and Rick & Phyllis Tryon (wise, friendly folks), with their daughter Melaina (the pride of the Great Falls High debating team!). Also on hand was Cascade County Commissioner Joe Briggs, who checked his Blackberry periodically to see if there was any breaking news, to no avail. The 10:00 live newscast for KFBB, hosted by the lovely Lisa Furgison, brought us news that Dona was leading by a few points, but we couldn’t get confirmation. It was encouraging, but not enough to begin cheering. The second live shot, at around 10:25, was a bit more nerve-wracking, as Lisa was on the phone with a source…and literally seconds before the shot went live, Lisa whispered to Dona “You won!” Of course, when she said that the entire crowd was silent, so we all heard it, and cheers went up as the camera began broadcasting. Dona looked momentarily stunned, and then presented herself wonderfully on-camera, promising change in City Hall and stating that her first order of business was to study, study, study before she takes office. Again, the air was filled with cheers as the “official” part of the evening came to end. Quite a night!